Tea seems to be something that is inside of you – something you can’t really escape – something that’s just waiting to be expressed.
At school in Salzburg, the beautiful hometown of Mozart…, while my colleagues rather started to drink coffee simply to be “cool”, than to endure amazingly limited visions presented during class, I carried my very uncool thermos jug filled with tea leaves. Surprisingly, while attentively sipping my tea, the classes, school itself and the people around me began not to concern me anymore. That’s probably the reason my teacher assigned the attribute “Alex – the mind absent” to me during our graduation ceremony. Overwhelmed by the “real life” after school, I started to consider my options in life – of course over a cup of tea again. Not even being aware of what was going on, I started my first part-time job at the famous teahouse Haas & Haas in Vienna surrounded by almost 300 different types of tea. I enrolled in the studies of Sinology and started to learn Chinese. After several visits to China e.g. Wu Yi mountain, famous for its Rock Teas, Yunnan’s Xishuangbanna, the home of Pu Erh Tea and so on, I achieved a scholarship for Taiwan and studied Literature. Besides many enlightening experiences, the caffeine rush of tea helped me not to get buried completely under the novels and poems of my major. Taiwan, the “tea people”, Wulong Tea and of course good friends opened my eyes for what was long inside of me. I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I learned more and more about tea and it finally and obviously became an indispensable part of my life, which also took me to Beijing and Shanghai where I was given the chance to spend almost one year at Peide Shuyuan. The time in mainland China helped me to put tea in an even larger context. As life went on, after almost 10 years in Asia, I came back to Europe. Besides pursuing my professional career between Asian-European markets I started to give seminars and hold tea ceremonies in Berlin at Chentee and other venues, until the time came when I couldn’t hold back any more and had to start to write about it… the story is going on, the next big tea project lies ahead! Alexander Ludwig 魯曜文