Chapter 202: Nine Years Spring
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: GaiaNove
Upon hearing Zhang Xuan's words, Lu Xun, Tian Long, and the others burst into laughter.
You must be joking!
Learning now? Do you think that the Way of Tea is some ordinary workmanship of those streetside craftsmen? That you can master it just because you said so?
This is an occupation! Even if you immersed yourself in it every single day, without countless years of effort, it would be impossible for you to bear results. You wish to pass the test just by learning right now. Will it kill you to be more humble?
However, this was good as well. This way, you won't be able to lift your head when you lose later on.
Lu Xun snorted.
While the others were laughing over Zhang Xuan's words, Huang Yu was on the verge of tears. She immediately sent him a telepathic message to persuade him otherwise: "You mustn't agree! Lu Xun has specially learnt the Way of Tea and he is skilled in it"
You don't even know what the Way of Tea is, yet you wish to compete against an initiate of the Way of Tea. Are you sure you aren't joking?
I have seen reckless people before, but I have never seen such a reckless person.
"It's no problem!" Knowing that she was truly concerned about him, Zhang Xuan reassured her with a smile.
Seeing that Zhang Xuan's will was resolute, Huang Yu panicked, but there was nothing she could do.
Seeing how frivolous Zhang laoshi was acting, Elder Tian's face darkened.
He had immersed his entire life into the Way of Tea to master its way, yet this fellow, despite knowing nothing at all, said that he would learn it right now.
Learn what? How will you learn?
Do you think it's playing house? Do you think you will learn the art just by looking at it?
You must be joking!
Even the three master teachers were staring at one another, and deep wrinkles formed on their foreheads.
They had heard of Zhang laoshi's affair, but this was the first time they were meeting him in person. They didn't expect him to be such a reckless and frivolous person. If he truly had such a character, then despite his capability in imparting knowledge, they had to reconsider whether they should accept him as their apprentice.
"Let's begin then!" Suppressing the displeasure he felt, Elder Tian gestured. "The test is simple. Long'er, you'll brew a pot of tea after which Lu laoshi and Zhang laoshi will speak of the brewing technique used and its tea aroma!"
The Way of Tea was similar to pill forging in some ways. It had gone through countless years of inheritance and there were countless schools and techniques. The same tea leaves, if brewed using a different technique, would have differing fragrances, textures, and colors.
That was why there were no right or wrong methods in brewing tea. Rather, one could only say whether one was better than the other.
A good brewing technique could unleash the full fragrance contained within the tea leaves, nourishing the spirit of those drinking it.
The edges of Tian Long's lips curled up. He glanced at Zhang Xuan before taking the tea tray and tea set from Butler Tian Gang's hands.
First, he used warm water to heat up the tea set. Then, grabbing a few tea leaves, he placed them into the teapot and flushed it with boiling water. When the tea leaves were steeped, the fragrance of the tea immediately gushed into the air, causing a deep aroma to linger in the hall.
"To think that Tian Long would achieve such deep understanding of the Way of Tea despite his young age. I'm impressed."
"From the looks of it, Tian laoshi has imparted all of his knowledge down to him. Soon, another incredible tea master will appear in the Tianxuan Kingdom!"
Upon seeing Tian Long's movements, the three master teachers nodded their head in approval.
They had learnt the Way of Tea from Elder Tian, and even though they hadn't reached the level of an official tea master, they had immersed themselves in the art for many years, so they possessed a decent amount of knowledge in it. Thus, they were able to see that Tian Long's skills were extraordinary.
"There are four levels to the Way of Tea, namely Redolent Hue, Essence Restoration, Infused Intentions, and Diffusing Fragrance! Even though nothing much can be said about his character, it is a fact that he possessed outstanding skills in the Way of Tea. Judging from his brewing technique, he should have already reached the second level, Essence Restoration!"
Afraid that Zhang Xuan couldn't tell what was happening, Huang Yu was communicating with him via telepathy.
"The first level, Redolent Hue. It refers to the level where the tea one produces has reached a certain level of mastery in terms of aroma and color, making it pleasing to the eye and the nose. Don't underestimate this level just because it is the lowest one. In order to reach it, you need to have a clear understanding of the amount of water and tea leaves you must use, as well as the state of the tea set. Without years of hard work, it is difficult to reach this level.
"The second level, which is the realm which Tian Long is currently at, is called Essence Restoration. At this level, you are no longer just showing off your skill. Rather, at this level, you infuse the art of tea brewing into your bones, granting them the ability to pull the most basic fragrance of the tea leaves out, allowing others to taste the most authentic tea.
"As for the third level, Infused Intentions, it is similar to that of the level of the same name in painting. The tea maker now understands the very essence of the Way of Tea, reaching the level where they are able to infuse their own artistic conception into the tea they brew. Those drinking it can experience the emotions of the tea maker through the tea he produces. At this level, one can take the tea master examinations and become an official tea master.
"Last but not least, the fourth level, Diffusing Fragrance. At this level, one can allow the fragrance of the tea to travel vast distances, such that people within several thousand li can smell it. At the same time, they can also confine the fragrance of the tea to the cup, making it linger within the cup. Those drinking such a tea would feel as though they were drinking a heavenly elixir. Elder Tian has reached such a level, and you can see the steam lingering over top the cup of tea he has poured. Upon reaching this level, not only will one be able to experience the full fragrance of the tea, the tea will also be warm no matter when one drinks it. It won't turn cold with the passing of time, which would affect its taste."
Huang Yu seemed quite knowledgeable of the Way of Tea, and she explained the various levels that a cup of tea could reach to Zhang Xuan.
Knowing that she was trying to help him, Zhang Xuan nodded his head, grateful.
After hearing her words, Zhang Xuan couldn't help but be impressed by how profound the art of tea brewing was.
Just these four levels would require one to immerse themselves in the Way of Tea for their entire lifetime.
While they were speaking, Tian Long finished brewing his tea. He slowly poured it out, the tea gushing out like a fountain. The delightful sound of the tea lapping against the sides of the teacup echoed in the air, as if created by an instrument.
"I've embarrassed myself!"
After pouring the tea into the teacup, the true fragrance of the tea immediately emanated all over the room. The aroma seemed to have some energizing quality to it, making everyone in the room feel refreshed. Tian Long smiled slightly in glee.
Since he could reach the second level of the Way of Tea at his age, he could he considered as a genius among geniuses.
He quickly shot his gaze to Huang Yu, thinking that she would feel deep respect for him and leap into his embrace. Yet it turned out that she wasn't looking at him at all. Rather, she was chatting with Zhang Xuan. Tian Long's face immediately darkened, and he looked as though he would explode at any moment.
It had taken him great effort to learn this tea brewing technique, and he wanted to flaunt it before the beautiful lady. Yet it ended like this.
"Zhang Xuan" Tian Long diverted all of his anger onto Zhang Xuan.
Seeing his furious gaze, Zhang Xuan blinked. 'I don't think that I've offended him. What's wrong with that fellow's head?'
"Now that the tea has been brewed, who will go first?"
Elder Tian looked around.
"Allow me!" Lu Xun stood up confidently. With an imposing disposition, he started to explain, "Brother Tian's technique is called Root of the Fallen Leaves, and it comes from Master Changfeng from a century ago. He saw the growth of tea leaves over the course of three years when inspiration hit him, and he created this brewing technique."
"In the 'Root of the Fallen Leaves,' every single tea leaf is placed into the teapot based on their maturity. This way, the tea leaves would be steeped in the same sequence as well. Tea leaves are similar to humans in that they have veins, and are interconnected with one another. Steeping in this manner would be like soaking the tree from its roots to its tip. This kind of progressive brewing technique brings out the very essence of the tea leaves, allowing the tea to reach the second level, Essence Restoration."
At this point, he flicked his sleeves and chuckled lightly, "Brother Tian, I wonder if what I have said is right or not?"
"Brother Lu is indeed talented. Your words do not have the slightest bit of error," Tian Long replied.
"Alright, since I'm done talking about the brewing method, I'll talk about the aroma of the tea then!" Standing in the same place, Lu Xun took in the aroma of the tea and smiled. "The fragrance lingers around my nose, making me feel like I am in a tea garden. If I'm not wrong, it should have reached the fourth level."
In order to better differentiate between the level of the tea and its taste, some of the more incredible tea masters had allocated nine different levels for the aroma of the tea as well.
First level of tea aroma, Sweet Aroma.
Second level of tea aroma, Revitalizing Spirit.
Fourth level of tea aroma, Alluring Reminiscence.
Ninth level of tea aroma, Congregation of the Hundred Birds.
Even though Tian Long had brewed a tea of the second level, his tea aroma had already reached the fourth level, Alluring Reminiscence.
That is to say, upon taking a sip from this cup of tea, the aroma would permeate into one's dreams, making it hard to forget.
After hearing Lu Xun's reply, Elder Tian nodded his head satisfied.
As expected of Lu Xun laoshi, his understanding of the Way of Tea was completely accurate.
"I'm finished. Zhang Xuan laoshi, it's your turn."
Smiling faintly, Lu Xun turned to look at him.
"Me? You've already said everything, what else can I say?"
Zhang Xuan was speechless.
Wasn't this fellow too shameless?
The question only asked them about the brewing technique and the tea aroma level, and he had already said everything. What else could Zhang Xuan speak of?
If Zhang Xuan were to say the same things, Lu Xun could simply say that Zhang Xuan had copied his answer.
"Brother Lu only spoke of the name of the brewing method. The Way of Tea is profound and deep, and there are still plenty of things to talk about. Zhang laoshi, could it be that you don't know the technique I use, and you don't know what to say?"
With a cunning smile on his face, Tian Long said, "If that's the case, I think it would be best for you to just admit defeat to not make the atmosphere awkward!"
"Admit defeat? That isn't my way of doing things!" Zhang Xuan shook his head. At this point, Zhang Xuan's lips curled up as he looked at Tian Long playfully. "Are you sure you want me to speak?"
"Stop putting on an act here!" Tian Long flung his sleeves out.
"Alright then!" Zhang Xuan stood up. "What Lu laoshi said is true, Tian Long did use Root of the Fallen Leaves. This brewing technique should have been a highly profound technique that is capable of brewing tea of the third level, but in his hands, its form has been completely misinterpreted and turned worthless. It's a failure!"
"You" Tian Long nearly leapt in anger.
"You need not be in a hurry to deny my words!" Zhang Xuan chuckled softly. He walked over to Tian Long, casually lifted up the teacups to look at them, and slid his fingers across them.
"I need not say much about the tea set. In Elder Tian's residence, even if the equipment used isn't the best, it isn't too far from it. Let's begin from the moment you started brewing the tea. In the Root of the Fallen Leaves, the progressive sequence of the action is of utmost importance. When hot water is poured into the teapot, the hot water would flow through the veins of the tea leaves, like the tea leaves are drinking the water. There is no problem with the sequence you placed the tea leaves into the pot, but you neglected the unique property of the tea leaves."
"The tea leaf you used is called Nine Years Spring. From the emergence of the tea leaves to its harvesting and drying, the optimal time for its consumption is nine years. At that moment, its fragrance would be the strongest. On this point, I'm not wrong, am I?"
Zhang Xuan looked at Tian Long.
"You-you're right!" Tian Long nodded his head.
Nine Years Spring were extremely rare tea leaves. Putting aside the fact that its harvest was limited, it was rarely traded in the markets. Even for their Tian Residence, it took them a long time before they managed to gather several taels of it. How did this fellow who didn't know the Way of Tea know of it?
Library Of Heaven's Path Chapter 202
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