January 15, 2012

Symbolism of plum, orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemum

In Chinese classic painting and literature, 梅,蘭,竹,菊 (the prominent plants for winter, spring, summer and fall: Plum , Orchid, Bamboo, Chrysanthemum) represent esteemed merits of gentleman's character : plum for ability to overcome hardships, orchid for gracefulness, bamboo for high moral standard and chrysanthemum for honesty. 

The characteristic weather pattern of the four seasons influences my tea choice as well.  In winter,  the earthy fragrance, golden amber color and full body of Pu-er or Oriental Beauty tea enhance the warmth while reading in my cozy study.

To welcome spring, I switch to lighter Oolong (i.e. Taiwan's high mountain tea and Anshi's Iron Goddess tea) for its pleasant floral fragrance and taste. 

In summer, the dragon-well green tea suits my palate with its clean scent and slightly bitter "I-can-taste-the-nature" quality. 

Then when autumn leaves turn to golden yellow and red, the robust and fruity flavor of Oolong from Taiwan's Tung Ting mountain compliments the harvest season's ambiance so perfectly!