To experience a real Chinese tea ceremony without leaving Bulgaria. To understand the philosophy, to see teapots for brewing tea leaves from different eras and materials, to learn what distinguishes good teapots from bad ones, why water is no less important than the quality of tea and what makes the drink in Asia not only а pleasure, but also а ritual. You can learn all this and much more if you visit Tihomir Todorov and his home near Balchik. In fact, Tihomir is one of the few, if not the only one in Bulgaria who can offer you to enjoy a real tea ceremony. All dishes, lucky figures, cups and teapots, as well as the types of tea themselves are imported directly from China.
The ceremony begins with choosing the right water, which should be neutral to help bring out the best in the aroma and taste of tea. Then the kettle must be rinsed with hot water directly on the table, and the liquid is absorbed in a special stand that collects the water. Each rinse is then continued in this way, watering each time the lucky charms on the table as the three-legged frog for good luck and other figures that change color from the hot water. The cups must also be rinsed. The purpose of this action is both to clean the container if dust accidentally gets into it, and to warm it. Next is choosing the most suitable tea for the specific occasion and people. It is obligatory to use miniature teapots with a traditional shape, made of special clay, in Tihomir’s house they are made by hand, have a certificate and it is known who is the Chinese master who made them.
It is interesting that in recent years some of the best masters of handmade teapots are not men but women, says Tihomir. Only the great specialists of the tea ceremony know exactly how much to heat the water for the respective type of tea, knowing the temperature in the bubbles of the boiling liquid. And to heat exactly as much water as needed. Because when the water is heated for the second time, this increases its softness and kills its living properties. You just pour dead water, the master explains. While telling us, Tihomir masterfully puts the right amount of tea, rinses it with hot water to remove the bitter taste and excessive tannins that would prevent us from falling asleep.
While we enjoy the aroma and taste of the drink, which is far better than the tea we brew every day at home, although we stick to the quality of the petals, we learn other subtleties as we drink the aroma around and rattle with a clay lotus. Such as how to know that the kettle is truly masterfully made. It turns out that the simplest thing for those who do not understand is to monitor the smoothness of the jet that flows from the kettle. The more graceful it flows, the more masterfully the court is made. Among the other tricks we enjoy is a teapot whose lid is so perfectly made of clay to match the main part of the vessel that when turning upside down on a teapot full of water or tea, the lid is not attached in any way does not fall.
And while tourists are most easily enchanted by colourful porcelain teapots, it turns out that real experts appreciate handmade iron or other clay, which often do not have too many ornaments for decoration, and instead offer perfectly simple shapes and smooth flow. If you also want to experience the perfect pleasure of a sip of tea, in which all the secrets of the universe seem to be hidden, we recommend that when you stop in Balchik, you think of Tihomir Todorov. You can find him through his Facebook account -https://www.facebook.com/tihomir.ivanov.7374/