Global Tea Hut

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Bok
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Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:34 pm

Dear everyone,

another outlet which does not seem to feature often on our forum (old&new), is Global Tea Hut and their offerings. Anyone tried their teas and has feedback about the quality?

For the background, they are mainly a kind of Tea/meditation center in Miaoli, towards the middle part of Taiwan. You can go there for free and donate whatever you feel like to stay at their retreat, drink loads of tea and meditate. As far as I understand it they incorporate the preparation of tea into their practises. Apart from that they sell tea and a English-language tea magazine, which is free to download after some time.

The founder is an American who calls himself Wude now.
On the surface the center is free, but not really, as you have to participate in their meditations – nothing is free in life…

Personnaly the whole sect-like feeling has put me off a bit (allergic to it), so I did never go there. Only foreigners there, a lot dressed up in old Chinese peoples clothes, I imagine the Taiwanese find this pretty odd and funny.

Just wondering how good their teas are and how come I did not see it mentioned around here? Wude seems to be quite apt at recognising any tea and its provenance. The marketing talk the use is professional, a whole lot of background story for each tea, all in all set up as a smart operation.
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Victoria
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Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:22 pm

I met Wude, aka Aaron Fisher, here in Los Angeles maybe 5 years ago at a gung fu cha event he organized. He comes here every once in awhile, most recently just last month for a spiritual tea gathering in tents with meditation. A few of us wonder how he got his Tea Master status, and became a Buddhist monk so quickly? I bought tea, but it was from Living Tea, owned by Colin Hudon operating out of LA, single sourced wild bushes in Taiwan. Apparently they are friends. The tea was excellent, a Mi Xiang Green tea, and I would buy tea from him again. There seems to be a group here that follows Wude, and are more into the framework of Cha Dao and the spiritual side. Lots of zen meditation going on too.
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Bok
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Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:05 am

Thanks for the input Victoria!

I have a few acquaintances who go there frequently, for spiritual advice so to speak.

Tea master status is as Taiwanese hearsay has it more by reputation, as he seems to have an excellent palate in regards to tea. Not sure if he really is a monk though. Don’t think he claims to be. More of a spiritual leader with a following. He has a good connection with some true tea masters here in Taiwan. The kind which make their own tea, teas you won‘t find easily outside of Taiwan. A bit like that Wuyi guy from Kyarazen.

Funnily quite a few of known to everyone of us potters are part of their community. Just found it strange that, although they have such a large following, one rarely hears about their teas on our forum/s. Maybe different breed of people… as discussion around here tend to more matter of fact and less spiritual in-the-clouds like.
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Psyck
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Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:51 am

They appear to have controversial opinions on puerh storage:

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CWarren
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Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:54 am

Not going to go into their spiritual and philosophical viewpoints but I will say Wude knows his stuff when it comes to tea; the teas I’ve had have all been great and the magazine is full of awesome tea knowledge with extended editions released every September. This past September was an incredible yixing guide. They have released English language translations of texts either not available or very expensive to purchase and all available for free archived on their website. I’m a member and though I don’t particularly find myself enthused with the spiritual stuff the tea and teaware knowledge and histories they present are great. Though a bit pricey they also offer some great tea and teaware outside of the tea that comes with the monthly subscription.
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CWarren
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Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:57 am

Psyck wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:51 am
They appear to have controversial opinions on puerh storage:

That is one member, not GTH, trying to get a consensus from the tea community at large if they’d be interested in paying for Asian storage. Though GTH does state often there is no better storage than in Asia.
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tealifehk
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Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:25 am

What GTH are saying is true, though; there's not much of a proven track record of pu erh stored outside Asia from 20+ years ago, so nobody knows how a Texas-stored pu will turn out, for example. I think a lot of people attempting to age tea today may be disappointed down the line as their tea may not end up the way they want it to. Pumidors may certainly help, but it takes time to see if a given storage method and/or location is really working out.
wildisthewind
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Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:53 am

Fully agreed that their dogma is a bit off-putting. I'm all for meditation, but I do think you can produce just about as good a cup with an electric kettle and filtered tap water as you can with a charcoal-fire clay kettle and spring water stored with stones in it. And Wu De definitely raises some flags for me. In general I get kind of a cultish vibe from them.

As for the actual teas. Some are truly outstanding (and amazing finds), like the recent Keemun and Yixing reds, whereas some are not really all that interesting (which jars with how hard they cheerlead), like this month's Shou or the "Elevation" Taiwanese Assam they praise so fiercely.

Still, for $20 a month it's generally pretty worthwhile, and the YiWu hongcha cake they offered on their site recently was absolutely amazing.
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Bok
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Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:32 pm

Thanks for the input! Kind of confirmed of what I was thinking.
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Tertti
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Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:25 am

This thread kind of spun off a bit from the original question about the tea quality. So my reply is concentrating on that. I have been a member some years and think the magazine is the best English source for tea available. Whatever you like about tea I think it has lot to offer.

I've had many of their teas and have found the quality very good. The biggest factor of my tea appreciation is the cleanliness (no pesticides etc) and all of the teas which I got from GTH felt super clean! :) After cleanliness comes other quality factors. So I can highly recommend them as a source of clean tea.

I think the shou pu and dian hongs that I got were my favourites. The young shengs were quite pricey but I guess that's how it is nowadays. I don't drink too much young sheng anyways... They often offer quite rare teas which are hard to find elsewhere with good prices.

As for teaware I would be quite careful. Me and my friends got some ju lun ju gongfu pots from there and the craftmanship was very poor. But the clay quality was good. And all of them super different from each other. This itself this is not a problem but I got a different impression from the description of their shop. The zisha gongfu kettle is quite weird design too but clay makes very nice tea.
Hidden_leaf
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Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:18 pm

In terms of the tea quality I agree with Tertti. The teas are clean or as gth puts it "living." The tea they provide is free of pesticides and often are free of fertilizers, and are seed propegated. Seed propegated meaning that the plant is allowed to reproduce as nature intended rather than rely on clones. I find it interesting as well that gth and wu de isnt meantioned more frequently in the forums. I was skeptical at first as well but now he is the only source i trust when it comes to chinese/taiwanese tea and teaware. Wu de held a workshop in nyc last summer and i figured I would finnaly see what he is all about. My girlfriend and I were in Taiwan at the tea sage hut months later. If wu de is in your area do yourself a favor and see his approach for yourself. I 100% urge you to experiment with his expansion packs, read thr magazine, drink his monthly teas, invest in his carefully sourced teaware. All the money supports the magazine, the current tea center, and the future tea institute "light meets life". Any gth member can visit his center in taiwan for 10 day intervals. I appologize for ranting but I am passionate about the subject and i dont want to be shy about my stance. I was skeptical but now i am filled with joy when i get to share gth with people.
Chadrinkincat
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Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:39 pm

I just checked out the newsletters. Is it a continuation of The Leaf?
foldedleaves
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Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:12 am

I too would highly recommend Global Tea Hut. I have been a member for a couple years now and can honestly say that my approach to and knowledge of tea has grown exponentially as a result. There really is no better source of tea information in the English language than the magazine (this December issue translated three full chapters from one of the authoritative texts on Liu Bao - quite enlightening). I recently returned from a visit to the center in Taiwan which further cemented my respect for what they are doing.

I will also say that Wu De is an adept teacher (and yes, a Zen monk who has received transmission to teach). However, the approach of the GTH tradition may not be everyone's cup of tea, so to speak. It does focus on tea as cultivation and practice, not as hobby and beverage. Which may turn some people off. However, for someone such as myself who seeks refinement through practice, I find it to be refreshing and motivating.

As for the tea - I have generally found it to be quite good. Most importantly (as was mentioned previously), GTH has a fundamental commitment to clean, organically grown tea. Also, from time to time they also sell teas and teaware that are difficult to find, especially for those of us not living in Asia. This past year I made sure to buy a fair amount of Golden Thread, an organic, first grade Liu An.

And one last note about the Ju Lun Zhu pots - apparently, the craftsmanship was left somewhat rough intentionally in order to reference the simple, unadorned pots that were exported to Japan during the Qing dynasty. If looking for something made more cleanly, I might recommend the "Starry Sky" pots they have - I've handled those and the craftsmanship is very refined.

Whew! Sorry for the long post. I hope something in there was helpful!
foldedleaves
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Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:19 am

Oh, I guess one more thing to mention! One reason you might not hear of Global Tea Hut as a vendor is that they're not a vendor. Their teas and teaware are sold as fundraisers with the aim of building a larger tea school in the future. The center sustains itself via the monthly subscriptions.
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Bok
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Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:27 am

foldedleaves wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:19 am
Oh, I guess one more thing to mention! One reason you might not hear of Global Tea Hut as a vendor is that they're not a vendor.
Nonetheless their marketing is spot on and quite professional! I think they make good use of their followers diverse talents :D

Thanks for the feedback everyone!
I find it quite generous that they share older issues of their very informative magazine for free. As others said, no other publication in English is around in this quality - I dare to say probably in no other non-asian language.

On another note, quite a few tea classes have this spiritual, sometimes straight religious, side in Taiwan. Add to this that teachers are usually in high esteem in Asia. So this kind of following is more unusual and with different connotations in Western cultures.
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