Pop-up exhibits are becoming the thing in NYC, and I have fallen victim to three of them – two by choice and one because of work. The first one (Color Factory) was cool because they set up cameras to capture and email your participation to you without impeding the fun, and the second (Rośe Mansion – for work) had a bit of educational value in addition to the obvious perk of drinking wine throughout the journey. The actual Room for Tea exhibition had plenty of Instagram-worth moments (which weren’t that appealing to us), but nothing to school me in tea.
What was really interesting and contributed heavily to my tea literacy was the tea ceremony add-on. A group from 7s Art hosted a traditional Chinese tea ceremony among the hustle and bustle of the exposition. The rite, starting and ending with a guided meditation complete with closed eyes and three strokes of the gong, was both relaxing and informative. I drink tea daily and even purchased an electric water kettle recently to ensure the proper brewing temperature for my weekend amusement, but it was a delight to take part in a formal process led by experts.
Breathing in the dried green tea leaves prior to brewing, inhaling the essence during the drinking, and both sniffing and eating the soaked remainders enhanced the experience. The pot was so tiny and so cute – just enough to give each participant a shot of each pour. I was surprised at how rich the tea was with the abbreviated steeping time and how the sweetness changed with each subsequent brewing. Did you know that some teas can be brewed up to ten times? Another revelation was how delicious and fragrant jasmine tea can be without smelling perfumey. Also, we learned you can fry used tea leaves and add them to eggs and other dishes. Really want to try this!
I wish I could duplicate this experience every afternoon. It’s probably not realistic since it would involve purchasing another electric water kettle for my office, along with the tiny teapot and several other accompaniments for rinsing and draining. Instead, I will continue to enjoy my daily tea and schedule one of 7s Arts Friday night sessions for a break after a hectic week.