Library to offer Chinese tea and calligraphy workshops

On a mission to teach people about the traditions rooted in Chinese culture, Sophia Wang will offer the first of a monthly workshop on Chinese tea ceremonies and calligraphy, 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 at La Jolla Riford Library.

Spanning two hours, part one (3 p.m.) will focus on the history of Pu-erh tea, followed by a traditional tea ceremony, and part two (4 p.m.) will focus on the evolution of Chinese calligraphy. The workshops will continue the fourth Saturday of the month at the 7555 Draper Ave. library, starting in January. 

“I want people to better understand Chinese culture. I’m Chinese and proud of that, but people (both Chinese and not) have lost their interest, and I want people to know more,” Wang told La Jolla Light

As part of the traditional tea ceremony, which she said can be peaceful and meditative, Wang said she will offer Pu-erh tea because of its historical significance and unique flavor. “The tea tastes different from a green tea or black tea you might find here, and is made in the Yunnan Province of China, my hometown. It’s grown high in the mountains and is fermented over several years,” she explained “It’s a little bit like wine in that really good tea takes 10 years to make and the color is similar to red wine. Also like wine, you taste different things each time you drink it or depending on how young it is.” 

Because of its fermentation, some age varieties even taste like mushrooms. “It’s good for controlling weight and overall health,” she said. “In China, a couple of hundred years ago, they really enjoy Pu-erh tea, so the best tea gets sent to the emperor. The Pu-erh tea ceremony would often involve playing a stringed instrument, and when people participate, everyone is very quiet and takes the time to think and relax,” she said. 

In a separate class Wang will also share the history of Chinese calligraphy. “Most people think Chinese characters are hard or randomly assigned to mean certain words. I’m going to show how the characters have evolved from the drawings of thousands of years ago to today.”

Wang, an instructor at the San Diego Chinese Academy housed at La Jolla Country Day School, is also an artist with a booth of her paintings at La Jolla Open Aire Market.

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