Monday, October 24, 2016

Fifth Annual Wu Wo Ceremony at Discover Teas

I was back at Discover Teas for their Wu Wo Ceremony again this year, because I loved last year's so much. It was a more intimate turnout this time -- mostly familiar faces and a few new people I hit it off with pretty quickly -- but I found relatively quickly that the number of people in attendance actually has little to no influence on what the ceremony will be like. It's all about the mood in the room and the sharing of tea.

So before I get too into describing this year's event in particular, I should chat about it in general, for those new to my blog. 'Wu Wo' translates roughly to 'selfless,' and is not your typical tea ceremony. It's not done a specific way or by a specific trained person. Rather, it's a gathering of people all bringing their favourite teas, making the tea their way, and serving it to each other in silence. The silence breaks on its own organically once everyone's been served.

This year, I brought the special Owl's Flower blend that Emily blended up for our book launch. It seemed like the most 'me' thing I could bring this year. Along with that, I brought my steeping setup: a tablespoon and a French press. Others had fancy cups, teapots, layouts, strainers, and the like, but the point is not to be fancy. The point is to make your tea your way, and my way is rather quick and dirty.

That said, some of the themed setups I saw this year made me seriously consider getting a pretty set for next year.

There was a little bit of everything on hand: green tea, white tea, tisanes, strong teas, delicate teas, even blends of three or four teas at once. Most fascinating to me was the fact that two people sitting side by side brewed the same blend of tea, bought from Discover Teas, and it tasted different coming from each of them.

That in itself is a big part of what makes Wu Wo what it is: we're not just making tea for each other. We're sharing it the way we make it. For some, that's fancy pu-erh sets with seasoned teapots. For me, it's a quick, hot morning brew in the French press I keep on my bedside table. And they were all delicious.

Many different tea shops, gatherings, and conventions do a Wu Wo ceremony. If you have a chance to go to one, I highly encourage you to do so. It's one of the highlights of my year, and I can't wait to do it again next year. Maybe I'll hop down to the pottery painting place and make a guinea pig set first...