In December, Taiwan starts to get cool and we find ourselves drinking lots of post-1980s Liu Bao, aged sheng puerh and shou puerh to start warming the belly. The lunches at the Center start to move away from raw food and there is an increase of soups, stews and other warming foods. The holidays always bring cheer, as the Center closes this month as we do some necessary cleaning, take trips to teach and spread the word and celebrate the holidays in our own way. This is a time for the Center to rest, for us to drink some nice teas and prepare for a new year of courses, greeting so many of you in the coming year.
This month, Shen and I will be traveling to Malaysia to attend a tea expo, where I will speak on Wuyi cliff tea, and we will hand out a big pile of magazines and free tea tins. This is the first effort in our new campaign to get to 10,000 members by 2020 and build Light Meets Life. Many of you know that we have been working in that direction for years, but the new spark of inspiration and motivation is coming from some new members who are helpful, active and full of fresh ideas. For me personally, I am quite happy with the Center as it is now, and content with the abundance already in our lives. I know that one day, when Light Meets Life is built, we will be sitting around in that bigger Center reminiscing about the small one we are in now. For that reason, I always look on the Center with gratitude and precious love. What motivates me to build is not a desire for more, which will inevitably mean more work, but the fact that our courses are full with waiting lists. It never feels good to turn people away. Chajin waiting for courses inspires me to build Light Meets Life! So let's work together and build the world's biggest and best free Tea Center, with the prayers and intention that this school will outlive us all, teaching many generations of Chajin to come!
Since we sent out the "10kx2020" pamphlet, many of you have emailed asking how you can help if you are not qualified for one of the positions we are filling (PR and photography/ videography). Of course, the easiest way you can help out is to help spread the word about Global Tea Hut to your friends, especially after you share tea and even on social media. Also, another big service would be if you email us the names and links of blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels and other resources you enjoy. You don't need to know the content creator personally. Just email GTH10kx2020@gmail.com with the names of blogs or journals you read, channels you watch or podcasts you listen to, and our new PR spokesperson will get in touch with them, offering a free month of Global Tea Hut. We hope to increase the amount of coverage we have and do more interviews with interesting hosts, in an effort to spread the word about this amazing community.
We also want you to know that as Global Tea Hut increases in size, we will continue to invest in improving the experience, including more journalism and travel issues, which also means new and exciting teas and tea regions covered in future issues. We plan to make an effort to cover and share yellow tea, white tea from Fu Ding in Fujian Province, Dancong oolong from Phoenix Mountain, more Japanese teas and translations of Japanese tea texts, as well as more Korean teas and translations. We also want to work on improving the app and completely redoing the "Past Issues" section of the site, converting the whole thing to a searchable, linkable html page instead of pdf files.
Finally, this month marks the beginning of a special, new tradition in Global Tea Hut. If you have been hunting around in your envelope looking for a gift, wait a minute, because there isn't one - or, rather, the gift is a very special kind. Starting this year, we plan to celebrate the holidays every December by using the gift budget to increase the quality of the tea we send in December. In other words, we take our tea budget and increase it by one gift for all of you and then reach for a higher shelf! This year is extra special. The last few years we have focused on Liu Bao tea in December, which we wanted to continue in 2017, so we headed down to Malaysia to talk to Henry and Master Lin. We told Henry about our new tradition of adding the gift budget to the tea budget to get a better tea, and amazingly, he offered to match us dollar for dollar, donating half of this month's tea. What this means is that this month's tea is one of the highest quality we have ever sent out in Global Tea Hut: an early- to mid-90s Malaysian-stored Liu Bao! And, we have translated some chapters from the most important book on Liu Bao in Chinese, written by local Liu Bao expert Peng Qing Zhong (彭慶中), which makes this an exciting month indeed!
This month, we recommend taking the time to read through the December 2016 and 2015 issues, especially the Tea of the Month articles. They both cover many aspects of Liu Bao we won't delve into so deeply in this issue, including the relationship between Liu Bao tea and Malaysia, which is covered in greater depth in the 2016 issue.