Friday, September 23, 2011


After months of preparation, respecting the chaos, and the courage to allow what is to be... We finally came to a realization that when we force actions, you only struggle against ourselves and limit the scale of what can be accomplished. The time has come. Tea leads us to Friendship, Friendship enlightens oneself. PURE IS THE RESULT.

It is my great honor to introduce a great photographer and a friend, Michael Halsband and Payal Parekh. A collaboration or Art, Mind and Nature.

By invitation only. Gallery opens beginning of October.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Gift From Heaven

"All desires end in disillusion, all possessions are a disappointment, all pleasures are a mixed blessing. Love implies a partner (onanism is not love), alcohol leads to a hangover, war to death, gambling to ruin, greediness to obesity. There are no exceptions. In order to go sailing you need a boat; to hunt, a gun - or a horse and hounds. The pleasures of collecting are the most frustrating of all ( the devotee is always lacking a Titian or a Rothko). Making one's fortune is never-ending: the nearer you get to your goal, the further away it is.

Objects of pure sensual delight are rare in this world. Even the greatest wines - perish the thought - can serve to quench one's thirst, utilitarian infamy. But the only use of the cigar is for smoking, and smoking is a pleasure, cigar smoking the supreme pleasure.

Cigars favor isolation as much as contact. You light one up to escape the world and yourself as well as to bring it closer. Its smoke both isolates and brings closer; it is both a mask and a link. It is an instrument of separation as well as of sharing. One can only smoke in peace, but smoking also spreads peace. What statesman can claim as much without lying?

The invention of the cigar surpasses all the others because it is free. Its simplicity makes it the equal in nobility to the highest products of the human mind. Entirely natural, it involves no artifice. The four elements — earth, air, fire, and water — and the hand of man, without any intermediary apart from the cigar roller's guillotine, intervene alone in its development, then in the flourishing which is its finally burning. A natural product, the cigar is homogeneous and coherent: tobacco in tobacco, nothing but tobacco. Real cigars escape machinery. They come into contact only with the roller's hand, the wood of their boxes, the hand and lips of the smoker, before being transmuted into stimulating and consoling smoke.

Tobacco quickly conquered the world, but the expansion of the cigar was very slow; a difference which is even more troubling since the cigar was the first way of smoking tobacco. The pipe is dated, the cigarette quite recent, while the cigars goes back to the dawn of time. We do not know for how many thousands of years it helped its inventors, the American Indians, to overcomes the difficulties of life."

— Eric Deschodt & Philippe Morane.
The Cigar

How much we can learn from each other, between cigar and tea, and the finer things in life....

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Prayer to Japan and all beings

The World we living in has changed. 
The rotation has shifted, but the center is always true to our heart.

Compassion is the source, not politicians nor corporate greed.
Be Strong and fill with hopes my dear friends from Japan. 
A limitless energy and supports from us to all being is just a heartbeat away.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Spirit of Tea

Profound and Good... we always want more, more than what we all need. Nature answers all our needs, and keeps giving... unconditionally.
How easy is to give back? We can at least start to share, with others in need. That is a very good start to give back.

A Korean whom in tuned with nature made a clay plate hundreds of years ago, understanding the spirit of the earth. A broken tea leaf lay bare honestly within at this moment. How much more could we ask? The love is unconditioned, the source of the spirit is within us.

Just listen to it with your heart, not through the lens of a microscope. It’s all a mere heartbeat.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Rocco Dispirito

We fall in love with things we might not understand. Someone once asked what my favorite wine was. "The one I like..." I replied, "and the one I don't know I like yet."

True love takes time. Knowing I like something and explaining it in detail need more time. It's very easy to ask children what they like to eat. "Chocolate Ice Cream!" and why?.... "Cos' its good". Often, good is not enough and somebody else said it's such and such it's even more convenient.

I have designed many, many books and touched many levels of authors. For someone to write a book and be able to explain his passion in writing is rare. Just like when someone asks me why I like that tea.... It's a true love affair.

Working with Mr. Dispirito is an eye opening experience. A true Artisan food lover at work. Many editorial sessions over tea had brought me to a new level of appreciating the finer things in life. Catching up with Mr. Dispirito's level of vision in food and cooking has taught me patience and control. The fruitful result of 39 days of hard work has paid off with the arrival of the first press run. Accompanying the book is my 2 years of love relationship on a tea I had selected and improved upon.

2010 Fall Traditional Roasted GBH / 2008 Fall Medium Roasted GBH
A traditional charcoal roasted Golden Buddha Hand from WangChun, Anxi. Grown at 800 meters up, I had been through a couple of passes with the farmer before finding the right tune and firing level. Understanding a tea and being able to explain to the grower what's good and what's needed to refine is like writing a book. Trial and error, patience and provocation, ups and downs.... Communications with the grower about how and where I want my version to be is an art. Listening to the leaves is essential... that's the spirit of tea and the spirit of life, all in all.

Taking my hat off for a great Chief/Author. And many, many more best sellers to come.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Coffee and Tea Festival NYC 2011

Two amazing days of Hard Work but Fruitful Harvest.
My heartfelt thank you to all the Mandarin's TeamMates and Tea patrons.

Photography courtesy of Wrong Fu Cha

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Year of Toki

Happy New Year of the Rabbit! The golden year of the Toki (Korean for bunny) is off to a busy start for the tearoom.

Just to kick start the new year, we sponsored a Virtual Yoga and Meditation conference the past week, hosted by Yogahub. This amazing virtual gathering, hosted more than 75 teachers worldwide and have over 2000 participants internationally.

Close friend and teacher, Neal Greenberg had touched on Meditation with the team, and I hope more and more awareness will be spreading on tea as an aid to have one find its center through Yoga as an exercise or in knowing the self.

More good news is our first NYC Coffee & Tea Festival this coming weekend. We will have a tasting booth and also a VIP special event on Saturday evening.
At the Festival:
Michael, Dae and I will be hosting all day tea tastings at our booth. We understand that there will be people of all tea drinking levels and have prepared different tasting menus to accommodate everyone’s taste.

Sweet and Floral with Dae: Choose White Peony, Rose Red or SpringTiKwanYin  $15.00

The Mandarin’s Tasting Table with Tim: Choose Golden Buddha Hand or High Fired TiKwanYin

Michael’s Traditional Favorites : Classic Roast Iron Bodhisattva, GungFuCha Bodhisattva

At the VIP Event:
Saturday’s special evening event will bring the focus on Chinese Tea as art and collectible. A very special tasting reception will focus on Puer.
Tasting Menu:
Dae – 2010 Nannuo Mountain Green - Spring Harvest
Timothy - 2000 Hon Tai Chang's Chi Tse Pin Cooked Puerh
Michael – 1996 Loose Puer (Hong Kong Storage)
Please come and join us to celebrate and embrace this great gift from nature.
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