In April, the weather really starts to warm up in Taiwan and we head outdoors to enjoy the sun. The first teas of the year start being harvested at this time as well. It is a time of waiting for the rains to come and this year's puerh and Yancha to come in May. We will have three or four amazing Light Meets Life teas coming this year, which makes this one of the most exciting years at the center!
Many of you are already serving tea in your communities and meeting up with each other regularly, and in the last year we have even had some members traveling to visit distant members and share tea together. That is inspiring! We hope to find ways to encourage and facilitate such fellowship. Let us know if you are interested in hosting monthly Global Tea Hut gatherings to share each month's tea with others in your area, whether they are members or not. We'd be happy to publish your tea sessions in the magazine and on our site. We are also looking into developing an online map or another form of community page that allows Global Tea Hut members to connect to each other and maybe post information, like what they think of this month's tea, for example. If you have any other ideas for connection through Tea please share them with us!
We would also like to announce a photography contest. Send us your best pictures of you making tea - alone or with friends, in Nature or at home - and we will choose some winners to receive a free month of Global Tea Hut for a friend. We'll also use the pictures in the magazine, of course, highlighting your contribution. Also, feel free to write an article. Over the years, we've published dozens of articles written by this community, and many of them are amongst the best to have blessed these pages. If you are aspiring to write about Tea, write an essay, article or even a poem and we'll share it somewhere!
We have three or four really amazing teas this year: an amazing ancient tree sheng puerh, two old-growth red teas from Yunnan (Dian Hong) and a great shou brick. This is the third year that we have sold puerh cakes transparently to raise money to fund the building of Light Meets Life. The previous two years have been huge successes, thanks to all of you! We opened up donations at a minimum, and so many generous souls gave more, allowing us to feel confident enough to produce even better quality teas this year and in larger quantities as well. In this way, we will have a large savings towards your future center by the end of the year!
This issue has some amazing articles about some of the fundamentals regarding tea, tea production and preparation. We thought it would be nice to have a whole issue devoted to the important fundamentals that we often touch on in our writings. Many people are new here, and even the seasoned reader will take joy in finding all these principles printed in one place! We try to repeat some of the important information about kinds of tea, what Living Tea is and other aspects of tea brewing now and again, but here we'll explore each one in detail, so you can have a lot of the essential foundations of tea knowledge as a reference. There is always more to learn and refine. Remember, advanced techniques are basic techniques mastered!
In that vein, we plan to work towards a greater cataloging of past issues, so that in the future information, terms, ideas and Tea wisdom will all be searchable. As this magazine reaches several dozen issues, we feel the growing need for a searchable database so that you can find information easily. Returning to the basics every now and again helps us to remember to stay humble and cultivate the beginner's mind. In that way, we never forget how much we love Tea, and why we're all here in the first place!
There are some great travel pieces in this issue as well. I've included my trip to Hangzhou last year. And the inspiration from our trip to New Zealand and Australia still lingers. Though some of the accounts of our time there are expressions of gratitude for me coming there, the truth is that it was the Tea, always Her...