In January, things start to cool down in Taiwan. We really only have two cold months, and they aren't so cold compared to many places in the world. Even so, we don't have any heating and the high humidity also makes it feel colder than it is. Of course, Tea comes to the rescue. In some ways, the winter months are the best time to be anywhere if you are a tea person - who doesn't love sitting inside with a warm bowl of tea on a cold day? This time of year means aged and shou puerh mostly, and lots of new experimentation with Five Element teas as well. It's wonderful to feel warmed from the inside, which is why we also head to the hot springs once a week - with a thermos of shou in tow!
Can you believe that we've been sitting in this Hut, sharing tea and fellowship for five years! There are still some of you who can remember the days before the "magazine," when this was a black and white newsletter with as much small-town community news as actual articles about tea. There was a time when we all sat much closer together, and the Hut was a more intimate, though far less rewarding, gathering of tea family. Now we look out on nearly a thousand brothers and sisters from dozens of countries around the world and marvel at what we have somehow achieved, seemingly carried by a spirit not our own - by Tea Herself. Though this journey has been inspired by Tea, a tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice have also gone into the improvements that we've seen over the years. Of course, there is a night sky worth of gratitude lanterns floating on the Global Tea Hut pond. Thank you so much to all who have come to live here and sacrificed your time and heart to improve this magazine. We are also grateful to all the authors, photographers, designers and editors who have contributed from afar. And, of course, we must also celebrate this beautiful community for all your support and love, making Global Tea Hut so much more than just a magazine or tea. Reaching this important marker of sixty issues is an honor for us all. May there be sixty more!
It feels like the energy in the Hut is crackling and moving us towards our goal of finding land and building Light Meets Life this year. We ask all of you to continue holding the vision of the world's first free tea center filled with a year's worth of courses on tea and meditation, gongfu tea, hosting tea ceremonies as well as linear courses on oolong, puerh and other tea education. We are also in for a real treat in terms of the improvements in the magazine itself, with new and exciting trips and articles by more authors, ongoing translations of Chinese tea wisdom, another round of our Classics of Tea series (this time from the Ming Dynasty) and, of course, some exciting new teas to try together!
There is one more change we'd like to discuss for this year. We are going to take out the QR codes linking to our movies from the magazine, as they are less used in the West than here in Taiwan. We plan to continue making videos every month, but we don't want to feel forced to make a certain number of videos or have them be on such specific topics like the Tea of the Month, brewing, etc., though we will continue to make videos that are in step with the topics of each issue so that they continue to expand and enhance this experience. With all the travel I am planning this year, we wanted to make sure that making the videos is still a joyous process for us and for you, rather than an obligation we don't look forward to doing. It was a wonderful experiment, to make these specific videos every month throughout 2016, but we are looking for more creative freedom in the coming year - inspired to make more and different kinds of videos to bring life to these pages!
We can't tell you how many times guests have asked us for Center recipes! We have been planning an issue on tea and food for years, with articles on cooking as part of a tea life and practice, Center recipes, dishes that include food and even a bit about the relationship between diet and tea drinking. This issue is jam-packed with recipes, with and without tea, as well as some wisdom for how a tea practice connects with tea. There is nothing quite like hosting some guests for some tea and a fine meal. This month we also have the perfect shou to warm up you and your guests and get them ready for a nice meal.
This month, we're going to publish some extras on puerh storage, gathering articles from many past issues. We will also post the article on the "Ten Qualities of a Fine Tea." We'd also like to invite you to email us your Global Tea Hut experience over the years, which we will post.