I took a picture of the table we sat at for our tea service, as well as others around the shop, which I shall try to post here, so you can view for details, or just go visit the shop, if you’re nearby. Below is the description that I posted on FB, along with the picture of our table. I didn’t take the pictures until we were leaving. They don’t want you using digital devices while there, but she said I could take some photos to post at the end. (I took them, then posted after I left.)
The table is an amazing piece of carved Burlwood, And you can see a slight depression on one side, where my friend Stacie was sitting and performing the tea service. Each table around the room has a depression like this, to catch spills and overflows, as the process is a bit messy. Each table (obviously) is a unique work of art.
We were drinking a pu-erh tea, which is very dark, and which you can brew 20-30 times before it is exhausted. The first pour is done in the little clay pot you see near the right, and is just to open and “wake up” the tea (which has been aging for decades!).
After about 15 seconds in the water, it is poured off over the little statue on the far right of the depression. That is a “tea pet”, and it was a statue of the Buddha, in this case.
From then on, we would steep the tea for only 15-30 seconds, then pour it into the clear glass pitcher, optionally through the clay strainer on the left. Then it would be off of the tea leaves, and not over-steeping.
By about the 3rd steeping, the tea had taken on a dark, almost black color, and developed a good, earthy flavor. (No sugar or milk, here! It’s all about the tea! :-) )
We would pour from the clear glass pitcher into the teacups for drinking, and the brush and towel were for dealing with water/tea on the table, and to brush it toward the drain embedded in the wood of the depression, near the top center of the photo. From there, a drain hose brought it down to a bucket under the table.
All-in-all, it was a delightful experience. I look forward to returning, and recommend it highly!