XingCha is a tea room that opened in Milan less than a month ago. I was invited by the young owners for a small tasting and to talk about their brand new project. And I was fascinated by it.
The tea room is a small, well-kept and elegant space, with a central table in the tasting room. The furnishing is simple but refined, on the furniture are placed design objects for sale obviously concerning tea. I wanted to share this experience with my friend Lavinia, an expert and passionate about tea; thanks to her preparation on the subject she always teaches me something new and unexpected. Wu Di, one of the two owners, explains to me the personal journey that led to the opening of XinCha:
Tea is something that we Chinese consume daily. With tea you can be together, I experienced this firsthand even here in Italy, when I lived in Rome — where I graduated. There I drank tea with friends, who really appreciated this moment. They were the ones who made me notice that in Italy such a beautiful presentation was missing and so I convinced myself to make small Chinese tea events in public. Later I moved to Milan, where I met Yiyun.
Yuyin continues the story:
Before coming to Italy, I studied in France. Then I moved to Florence, where among other things there is a small niche of tea lovers, and later in Milan. I immediately told Wu Di: “We have to do something.” I wanted to introduce Chinese culture in a context that was not a restaurant, it wasn’t something I wanted to do and that interested me. I wanted to create a context that was not in Italy. So tea chose us.
In this way the XingCha project was born, a space where you can sip excellent selected tea and enjoy cakes and biscuits made by a trusted Italian bakery. I want to know more and Wu Di continues to instruct me:
I have studied extensively by a tea teacher, in fact I am a sommelier. Each tea has specific characteristics that help man feel better. Knowing each peculiarity of each tea can help us live better and healthier.
It is no coincidence that a proverb from the Song dynasty states: “Zen and tea have the same taste”. Chinese tea has a very ancient genesis, in fact it dates back more than 4000 years. The system of rules of the ceremony was established during the Tang dynasty and transmitted to Japan after the 4th century D.C .; there it was called the Tea Ceremony, while in Korea it is called The Tea Ritual. The administration of this drink is by a chosen person and takes place in a designated place. But Chinese tea is not all the same: the enormous geographical variety has allowed an incredibly diverse tea culture. And Wu Di underlines how little or nothing is known about all this in Italy:
In Italy the tea culture is almost non-existent. It is a drink that unfortunately is still associated for example with Earl Gray and the vastness of the qualities is not recognized. Perhaps you have an idea of the extremely rigid and codified Japanese tea ceremony. In China, however, tea is drunk in a context of relaxation and peace. And from XingCha we propose this experience. Here people enter naturally and are welcomed in a relaxing environment, where they can detach themselves from everyday life for a few moments and rest their mind and body. Here you are free to talk, it is not like in the Japanese tea ceremony where silence is observed. And in such a relaxed atmosphere people are more willing to listen with their hearts.
This is a space where you can give yourself a moment of peace while enjoying an authentic drink. Our raw material is of the highest quality — before opening myself I went to China to look for the best producers. We also use hand-made tools by expert craftsmen. Our philosophy lies in the name we have chosen: “Xing” has different meanings, including “path” and “transmission”; “Cha” means “tea”. So “prepare and serve tea”. But there is much more. The Chinese words, our ideograms, conceal deep meanings. In this case the tea ritual, and the words that determine it, also concern the close bond that exists with nature and the respect that must be brought towards it. Our mission is to make all these aspects known to Italians and in fact we organize events on Chinese tea, in order to convey knowledge. We are looking for business partners who share our vision. For example, we have established a solid partnership with regards to the world of sake. With the Japanese we have an excellent dialogue, among other things we offer Ippodo-certified matcha tea — in addition to over 50 varieties of tea selected by Chinese sommeliers. We want all this knowledge to reach people, organizing cultural events with artisans and artists.
And speaking of productive collaborations regarding tea, also Chiara Castoldi of Teaology participates in the meeting, which shows us how with tea you can create unique beauty products. Teaology is a line of luxury cosmetics made completely without water: in fact, the basis of the products is tea. Thanks to the exclusive technology “Tea infusion skincare” are produced cosmetic specialties for face and body that contain all the powerful antioxidants of tea. Another interesting and effective way to love each other, a successful interpretation of the well-being that tea can give.