Gongfu Cha in the Backcountry
Backpacking in deep wilderness is one of my earliest obsessions. I’ve always taken tea with me. That was before my most recent obsession, i.e. with oolongs. Now that I have learned the gongfu method and have tasted what tea really can be, I want nothing more than to merge these two obsessions.
Problem: Carrying porcelain or ceramic in the backcountry can be fatal (to the porcelain of course). Does anyone have any good experience, advice?
I’ve backpacked all over the world with a gong fu set hand crafted in Taiwan (clay teapot, gaiwan, two sets of ceramic cups). Thailand, Cambodia, China, Liberia, Uganda, Tunisia (not necessarily in that order). Granted I don’t carry all of the extras (i.e. teasink, and other tea implements), but it allows me to make much better tea this way since hot water is available almost everywhere. That said, how I do it: I have sewn handmade sleeves for each of the cups, and I wrap the gaiwan and teapot in “dust covers” like these: http://www.cloudwalkerteas.com/product/ACC-008 . I then carefully pack all of this into a cardboard box with thick sides and top, one of the boxes that my bulk tea comes in actually. The individually wrapped items are prevented from clinking together and the hard sides of the box prevent any inadvertent “hits” or other jostling. I’ve never broken anything while in transit when I use this method. The key is packing everything up again after each session so that the amount of time outside of the box is minimized.
Tea in the woods…Irie Mon!…as some would say.
I give up tea when I go to places where there is no daily shower and where people count stars in the restroom :-p
But if you have to stay in the woods for multiple months… I believe that’s how puerh was invented :D