Winter Reflections and Updates
2014 Was a wildly dynamic and eventful year. I found myself working and importing for a fun start up tea company called Steep in Flagstaff, volunteering for an inspiring NPO called the International Cities of Peace in Sedona, and ended up leaving it and my amazing community for an opportunity to work with Tea Master Jason Chen at Smacha tea near Seattle. Whew...as I reflect and write this I feel the gust of so much movement, and how I so love my hot cup of tea on this dark rainy night.
I have recently felt the call to begin revitalizing my presence on this blog and enjoy the opportunity to refine my writing skill as well as share my love and passion for the time of tea.
This year I aim to post both written blogs and you tube videos as well as launch a lot of new teas and tea wares from my travels on the store here. In the meanwhile please check out the above new promo my friends at Traveling Sole Productions did for me, and stay tuned!
October 6th, 2013 marked a very special event for us at Cannata Imports. Kenneth Cannata had the honor to serve the oldest food and wine society in the world: La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs™. The Chaîne has an aspect to their society called "Mondiale" where they educate their members on the very large world of fine beverages. These are primarily alcohol-related educational seminars. However, as not all Chaîne members consume alcohol, they hosted us for an afternoon of delving into the world fine teas: more specifically, Pu-erh tea—a most exotic and sought after treasure from southwest China.
We started the day with a brief introduction into who we are and what we do by speaking on the key aspects of therapy, economy, and philosophy within both the history of tea and its contemporary implications. It was a delight for most to learn that wine and tea are quite analogous, not only in terms of their rich histories and massive consumption the world over, but in terms of more unique qualities inherent to particular regions and vintages. The fact that tea is fermented and aged by indigenous tribes throughout Yunnan province, China, provided a context and rich tapestry of a more complex world awaiting further exploration with their foreign palates.
Upon consideration for this situation we chose three teas that would be suitable to demonstrate quality of production, character of flavor, and a subtle power latent in vintage pu-erh. Starting with our 2012 Yiwu Ancient Tree raw pu-erh we showed that young pu-erh should be smooth and delectable as well as consumable immediately and after years of storage. The second choice was our vintage 2006 Old Leaf Ripe pu-erh, mild and inviting with crystalline brews that get sweeter with every steep. The ripened pu-erh teas are famous as digestive aides and have numerous therapeutic values associated with daily imbibing. This tea brought many smiles to our guests' faces, perhaps because of the vast differences between ripe and raw pu-erh, or maybe because they might have found a libation that intoxicates as well as sobers them up after a day of wine tasting. Then finally we brought out a famous vintage tea named WanXiang Yu (Evening-Fragrance Jade). This is a treasure found in few tea collectors' storage--a 1998 raw pu-erh from ancient trees found in a famous region called JingMai. Words rarely do justice to the time and pleasure of rare tea drinking, so we decided to recite Kenneth's translation of the famous "Seven Cups" tea poem. It felt like an appropriate and timely venture out of the didactic and into the more magical potential that filled those cups.
After taking a quiet journey into the culture and history of the Chinese through their poetry we then finished the afternoon with a tea and chocolate pairing. Our 2012 Wild Black tea infused our TeaChocolate™ delicacies. We didn't have the chance to assign designated drivers, and as aged teas can be relatively inebriating we thought it fitting to enliven everyone up at the end.
The afternoon was a complete joy and success, marking a wonderful movement forward with Cannata Imports becoming a leader in providing rich educational experiences rooted in the traditions of the past, yet tuned in and acculturated to our present. We are very grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Maurer for hosting us in their lovely 50s style home that sits adjacent to the magnificent Cathedral Rock in Sedona AZ. We are also grateful to the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs for welcoming us into their Mondiale educational outreach aspect of their esteemed society.
Keep a look out for blog posts on other events, classes, as well as looks back into our many travels and experiences within our international world of tea.
Sincerely, and until the next tea!
About 6 years ago in my sophomore year at DRBU my classical Chinese professor introduced me to Bill Porter, a.k.a. Red Pine. Bill is a prolific classical Chinese translator and author of many popular books relating to Buddhism and traveling in Asia. Ever since that first tea gathering I have gone back as he and time allow.
I am someone who finds value in experiences and learns more through unspoken osmosis than classroom type dictation. With Red Pine there are not many words to express how a simple tea gathering can be so full of elation and profundity. Our exchanges are some of my most valued memories.
I recently started a non-profit organization with three other people called the Jade Pine Foundation, dedicated to the preservation and acculturation of classical traditions from Asia. Red Pine is one of our advisers who directs and inspires the movements forward in providing the public with access to educational and experiential opportunities. I feel enormously grateful in my life to be able to have drawn near to such experienced and wise teachers. It is my aim to share that wisdom in its various forms. Tea is one of many arts, including translation, kungfu, taiji, qigong, herbalism, and others, that the Jade Pine Foundation can share with the public.
For example, Red Pine taught me recently that in translating classical Chinese poetry one must tap into the poem beyond words. Also that the words are not the poem itself, but merely evidence that a poem exists. As a deaf man learning a dance by observation of another...Read more in this interview with Red Pine
Here is a link to my translation of the famous "Seven Cups" poem and a comment by Red Pine.
One of the core reasons I serve tea to the public is to build a bridge between ancient and modern, east and west. Bridges that connect us to a more peaceful and rich world of ever evolving happiness.
Stay tuned for more updates on other lessons from Jade Pine advisers and events I host with Cannata Imports.
Welcome to the Cannata Imports blog page. Here we will post updates, stories, and educational materials from our adventures.
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Trails of Time and Tea -
2013 Wild Black Tea is back in stock!
Along with our 2012 productions of Green/Raw puer tea from Ancient Arbor trees in Yiwu mountain, and Pasha Mountain regions.
We also recently acquired high quality Vietnamese "kyara" agarwood incense coils and Indian sandalwood coils. These are two of the most famous incenses in the world and are truly exquisite to enjoy.
Kenneth Cannata: Happy tea-searcher. Also known by some as their friendly neighborhood "TeaBoss".