Shining the Spotlight on Great Japanese Cultivars – Part Two


Continued from yesterday

This elite variety is reserved for Gyokuro and is not widely grown. Seen mainly in the Uji region of Kyoto and some parts of Shizuoka, Gokou has a very distinctive sweet taste and characteristic Gyokuro fragrance. This is premium at its best! Because it’s a slow grower, it has a longer harvesting time, perfect for shade-grown cultivation.

Predominantly hailing from Kagoshima, Yutaka Midori is grown for Sencha and Bancha production. Bless this variety because it gets a bad wrap! Most Yutaka Midori is grown in non-organic conditions where it’s easier to bring the fuller flavors front and center.  Organic teas, on the other hand, have a challenge with finding the best flavors and aromas. Because of being conventionally cultivated, it can yield larger quantities. It is often sold as Aracha for tea shops across Japan to “finish”, and is blended with other varieties to alter the taste, aroma and color, meaning the true Kagoshima essence is eventually lost. It’s a profitable commodity and is widely traded. When you get an authentic, organic, unblended Yutaka Midori, the pure, fragrant brew is heavenly. When you have the chance, try this in its organic form as it might just be the best organic tea you’ll find.

Incredible Sayama-midori gets a round of applause for really kick-starting the whole registration of cultivars in 1953. This slow grower develops incredible nutritional components and is famous for producing great Sencha.

First developed in Saitama Prefecture, Sayama-kaori is often compared to Yabukita. This hearty, strong variety is an excellent one for high productivity. “Kaori” means fragrance in Japanese, so it’s no wonder this variety scores high on aroma as well as having a strong taste to match. Producing a tea with a very strong floral nose and a sweet and creamy taste, Sayama-kaori is the Eau du Parfum of the Japanese tea world.

Not to be confused with saEmidori, Samidori is often regarded as one of the best varieties in Japan.  This treasure produces some of the most remarkable Gyokuro and Matcha there is. With a characteristic sweetness and a brew that is on the yellow side, Samidori is a slow grower with a precious yield. This charmer is grown mainly in the Uji region of Kyoto but certainly has a presence in Yame.

The subtle elegance of Asahi is perfect for creating Matcha and often celebrates First Place in tea tasting competitions across Japan. With a short harvesting period, this variety commands a high price tag for its rarity and award-winning quality.



Shining the Spotlight on Great Japanese Cultivars – Part One


When I was young and living in Nagoya, drinking literally gallons of Japanese green tea, I didn’t know there was a difference in green teas and the word cultivar certainly wasn’t in my vocabulary. It wasn’t until later in my tea-drinking life that this topic became almost an obsession.

Cultivar means plant variety; like with tomatoes where you have Roma, Hillbilly, Brandywine, and let’s not forget Mortgage Lifter (google it!). It’s the same in the tea world.

Camellias have over 50 varieties but there is only one Camellia sinensis, the most famous of the flowering plants, which is the tea plant. OK, that’s not exactly true because of the Camellia sinensis, there is the sinensis strain so Camellia sinensis sinensis (small leaf, cold climate), which is found in Japan and China, and the Camellia sinensis assamica (large leaf, semitropical climate) found predominantly in India.

Even though Camellia sinensis is the tea plant, there are more than a whopping 3,000 varieties! Enthusiastic farmers up and down Japan are experimenting with creating their own hybrid cultivars all the time. Some make it to “registration” after rigorous scrutiny by the plant police, while others are tossed on the scrap heap never to be heard of again. Currently, there are approximately 80 certifiable cultivars on the Japanese registry and most come from Kagoshima, the hotbed of creative cultivars!

Let’s now take a look at some of the most popular cultivars.

Asatsuyu truly has a memorable taste yielding a brew with a deep shade of green. It’s a pretty fragile variety, you could even call it shy, and more often than not, it produces a relatively powdery finished product. It has gentleness about it and its sweetness really shines through. While not a brilliant one for Fukamushi steaming because it’s so delicate, masterful craftsmen can create a Fukamushi out of this, and when they do, it’s stunning! Asatsuyu is a favorite of many tea aficionados, whether they can identify it in the sip or not.

Synonymous with Japanese tea, this cultivar has clout! It’s known for its hardy productivity and adaptability to soil and climate conditions. Because it’s strong, close to 90% of tea farms cultivate this variety. Being so stable, farmers can expect to rely on it for fairly high-profit margins. Yabukita, however, tends to lose its quality fairly quickly, so the prudent farmer watches his crops like a hawk and swoops in with clippers at exactly the right moment for harvesting. Large estates tend to use a number of different cultivars to extend their harvest since Yabukita’s quality is so short-lived, but this daddy delivers a rich taste and refreshing aroma.

Crossed between Yabukita’s strength and Asatsuyu’s charm, is precious Saemidori. Introduced around the 1970’s, it didn’t become popular until 1990 when it was finally registered as an official variety. Producing prized Matcha, Gyokuro, and premium Sencha, this variety is mostly used in organic farming where creating superior tasting organic teas is often a challenge. It has a stronger aroma than Asatsuyu and is known to be an early bloomer meaning it has a short harvest and therefore produces smaller yields. The good news for farmers is that, like Yabukita, there is a good profit margin with this cultivar.

This variety is a cross between Yabukita and a native Shizuoka variety called Zairai. With flavor notes, a deep green color and an aroma similar to Yabukita, this gem is widely cultivated, especially in Yame, the famous Gyokuro region. Often in partnership with Yabukita, this slow bloomer allows farmers to harvest the Yabukita first and the Okumidori next, making full use of the harvesting season.

Part two will be posted tomorrow.



Top 100 Tea Blog List Critique


I recently saw an online group post about a top 100 tea blogs list by Feedspot, which I’m critiquing here.  According to the listing part of the criteria is as follows:

“The Best Tea blogs from thousands of top Tea blogs in our index using search and social metrics.”

Facebook and Twitter follower counts are cited, so there is some justification, although for some entries both are listed as “n/a.”  I’ll mention what they missed, and why the list doesn’t work related to that.  Of course, many of the entrants are good blogs and reference sites, with a lot of familiar names:  World of Tea (which changed names and theme), TChing, Tea DB, and Tea For Me Please.  It includes some of my favorites:  My Thoughts are Like Butterflies, Oolong Owl, Sororitea Sisters (good for basic reviews), and Lord Devotea’s Tea Spouts, which is nice for opinion posts (rants).

A lot of entries are sales sites.  If a vendor creates reference content that’s a different thing, and many do also put out a blog.  Evaluating if content transitioned from product marketing description to actual background information would be difficult (if a blog really is a blog).  The Hojo vendor articles seem like a good example of such an effort; they create nice articles, even though I’m not sure their content is 100% accurate.

What’s missing might be a bigger problem than what’s there.  I’ll cite my FB group discussion comments about that:

It’s missing Steep Stories, Tea Geek, Tea Addict’s Journal, The Half Dipper, Death by Tea, Tea in the Ancient World (my own blog), and the Global Tea Hut’s magazine.

 

Also Tea Master’s Blog, probably the best reference about Taiwanese oolongs, and Tea Journeyman, a good basic review blog.  Tea Obsession is now inactive but the old posts are a great reference on Dan Cong.  Mattcha’s Blog has moved onto other scope, after a period of inactivity, but old posts are still a great reference on Korean teas.

 

Steep Stories is my favorite blog, and for overall reference Tea Addict’s Journal is pretty far up the list, definitely top 10. Tea Geek is mostly inactive now but still a good reference blog. My Japanese Green Tea is the best Japeanese tea reference blog I know of, and Puerh.fr is a great classic pu’er reference site.

 

This list is just not a well-informed effort.

It is what it is, a blog ranking site that cuts and pastes search results material, a Top 100 Tea Blogs list that stops at number 86.  If a bot made that list then it’s not a very thorough bot.  I checked the Top 60 Whiskey Blogs list there and that leaves off at # 53.

What goes into a good tea blog?  About tea review methodology. 

Whatever someone happens to like in a tea blog defines what is good, so any list would be subjective; unless it was only an attempt at ranking stats.  Stories can be nice, or a lifestyle theme, about everyday experiences, or research.  If the criteria used is Facebook and Twitter followers along with Google search metrics that actually sort of works; it’s clear and objective.

I’m not implying that tea reviews are at the core of a good tea blog (although many are only that, for content), but I did comment on how those map out further in that online discussion.  It related to a criticism by someone else that many blogs aren’t informative, that they really don’t describe how good the teas being reviewed are.

It’s natural for reviewers to not want to say negative things about teas, to communicate what is positive instead, probably at least partly related to being given free samples for review.  A reviewer skipping mention of teas they don’t like only solves part of the problem.  No matter how that’s cut off there would always be some boundary condition, or aspects that don’t work as well in some teas, or typical attributes that could be there but aren’t. Different bloggers deal with all that in different ways.

 

Some reviews express so little description that this particular problem hardly comes up, but that’s an exception. More often bloggers include no subjective content at all, to the degree that’s even possible, mentioning aspect descriptions but not how much they like the aspects or tea in general. It works better than it sounds but that approach skips a lot.

 

There are two other potential approaches that tend to never come up: placing the tea quality on a scale related to what else they’ve tried, or evaluating trueness to type, if it’s what one would expect from that version. Bloggers almost never mention value either; teas are sold as better or worse with pricing indicating that level, implying it. If you buy one Longjing for $8 per 50 grams and a second for $25 you’d expect the second to be better, even if the descriptions were a close match. There’s no way to really wrap all this up in the form of conclusions, just talking through the background a bit.

Of course, actual vendor pages are something else; they’re describing what they sell, and may or may not include any other content.  Lots of vendors do go further but more don’t.

Even if a person did try to evaluate tea review or research theme content, versus condense a Google search ranking, they would need to be very familiar with tea to do so.  That listing site, Feedspot, seems to be more an automated rating system with a link forwarding function, like Bloglovin (a feed reader), designed to also include ranking along with subject type sorting.  At least it did work well as a starting point for talking about my own favorites and what goes into a tea review.

Images provided by author.



Replace Your Cigarette With Tea


The human mind is a powerful tool and can be used for accomplishing great things and even things that seem impossible: Unless of course it is being dominated by an outside force–or in this case chemicals–that inhibit our own willpower from quitting what we don’t want to do in the first place.

Smokers yearly suffer from an overwhelming amount of attempts to quit smoking, yet many never seem to succeed: all in the name of Nicotine. Nicotine is the culprit as two chemicals called dopamine and noradrenaline affect the human brain by changing your mood and concentration levels, thus causing an inevitable addiction. Unfortunately, nicotine does reduce stress and anxiety and for that reason alone is why so many smokers utilize it. Since nicotine is used to relax and “get away”, it’s the reason why users of this drug seem to always want to come back to it no matter how many times they call it quits.

While many smokers have failed to quit by the hundreds of thousands of methods that many claim to say succeed, those who are tea lovers are in for a real treat. It’s known that tea has an overabundant amount of health benefits such as boosting the immune system, fighting cancerous disease radicals and so on, but did you know you can utilize tea as replacement therapy to combat smoking addiction to cigarettes?

When a victim of drug abuse needs to overcome an addiction, one can’t simply just let go of said addiction so easily because the chemical state of the brain is so greatly altered; it’s somewhat nearly impossible to quit without the help of an external remedy. Smokers instead need an aid to help assist in kicking the addiction to the curb; in this case, the wonderful leaves of the camellia sinensis plant or “tea” can do just that. What better replacement strategy other than tea!

You can effectively utilize tea as a replacement aid to remedy and overcome cigarette smoking addiction completely without having to spend a fortune. The antioxidants found in tea not only help you relax and reduce stress mentally and physically, tea can detoxify and remove any toxins that are left in the body such as heavy metals and those pesky cravings for tobacco that smoking originally created. Some ex-cigarette smokers even claim that because of tea’s powerful relaxing sensation on the mind, it’s one of the main reasons why the switch from cigarettes to tea just works; having something natural that lets you unwind beats inhaling toxic synthetic chemicals that although help you unwind, also kill 1,300 people daily.

You don’t need to worry about which specific tea to drink although there are recommended teas that are better suited to stopping smoke addictions such as Mimosa tea, jasmine, chamomile, and green tea. It’s crazy to think that the chemicals found in herbs can be used for medicinal purposes instead of harming our bodies by them. The irony of all of this is that in its pure form, tobacco is derived from a plant and so is tea. Instead of being enslaved by an addiction caused by tobacco, replace a bad habit with a good one. Include a daily routine of consuming tea at your desired pace and flavor that will support a positive and healthy life!

Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm
https://www.livestrong.com/article/170101-green-tea-benefits-in-quitting-smoking/
http://quitventures.com/using-herbal-tea-to-quit-smoking-naturally/
http://www.livingherbaltea.com/ways-to-quit-smoking-with-herbal-tea/

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Blast From the Past: tea as metaphor for life


This poem by Thich Nhat Hanh clearly expresses what I have been trying to touch upon in a couple of my most recent posts. The simple act of making and enjoying a cup of tea can teach us so much about how to best live our lives. So take a moment to read this poem and then begin to live the tea life.

You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.

Only in the awareness of the present,
can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.

Only in the present, can you savor the aroma,
taste the sweetness,
appreciate the delicacy.

If you are ruminating about the past,
or worrying about the future,
you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea.

You will look down at the cup,
and the tea will be gone.

Life is like that.

If you are not fully present,
you will look around and it will be gone.

You will have missed the feel,
the aroma,
the delicacy and beauty of life.

It will seem to be speeding past you.

The past is finished. Learn from it and let it go.

The future is not even here yet.
Plan for it,
but do not waste your time worrying about it.

Worrying is worthless.

When you stop ruminating about what has already happened,
when you stop worrying about what might never happen,
then you will be in the present moment.

Then you will begin to experience joy in life.

Original article by Sandy Bushberg, posted June 2007.



Blast From the Past: Mom’s silverplate and tea parties


My Mom recently moved into a smaller place, so my sister and I have been helping her to downsize her household.  Although my Mom has been enjoying her new living situation, this has been a stressful and somewhat depressing time for all of us.  It’s hard to go through the things that you’ve known all your life – that furnish the home you’ve known since childhood – and decide what to keep, what to sell, and what to just get rid of.

However, on a recent visit, my Mom and I spent the afternoon going through the many chests of silver flatware she collected during her years as an antique dealer.  Most of it is silverplate, of which there is only one matched set.  Yet, it’s a fascinating collection.  My Mom was nice enough to say that I could pick out whatever I wanted (other than the matched set, which my sister had requested) to make up a set.  Even though the matched set is beautiful, I actually preferred to make up a set from the unmatched pieces.  It takes the formality out of the gorgeous flatware to have an eclectic mix, which suits my lifestyle perfectly.  There are some monogrammed pieces (surprisingly, with the right initial!), some intricately patterned grape motif pieces, and some simpler, geometric styles.

The best finds, though, are the ones I’ll be able to use for tea parties: sugar shells, demitasse spoons, teaspoons, and butter knives.  I think my Mom has a special fondness for sugar shells; she had at least 10 that I could choose from.  Some of them had long, beautifully wrought handles with a simple spoon for the sugar; others had less ornate handles, but gorgeous spoons that actually resemble a shell.

The demitasse spoons are of all different styles and shapes as well.  Even though I know that demitasse spoons are more for coffee than tea, I may have to pull them out when I plan my tea parties just because they’re fun!  The teaspoons are beautiful as well, but not as much of a novelty as the demitasse spoons.

And because my collection includes pickle forks, grapefruit spoons, and seafood forks, I’ll need to come up with a fabulous menu to take advantage of these interesting pieces.  Perhaps some Japanese pickled vegetables to go with some green tea?  Or perhaps shrimp cocktail to pair with a nice Darjeeling?

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the shoe-button hook because I’m not planning to wear buttoned shoes any time soon.  But I do know that whenever I host a tea party, I’ll always think of my Mom.

This article written by Nancy Murphy originally posted in June 2012, image provided by author.



What Tea Consumers Should Be Aware Of


Food production over the last century has taken a turn for the better, new technology allows many industries to mass produce food or beverages as fast as you can think to blink. All the way from manufacturing and food distribution, to wholesale and eventually to the consumer’s house. Everything looks simple, as a consumer, we hardly have a clue what goes on behind the label or ingredients that most products contain.

Whether you’re mindful of GMO in food or not, we need to be remain attentive about what we are consuming. What we put into our body greatly determines our future health, for good or bad. Nevertheless what we really ought to be watchful for is the great measures many food processing companies go through to create a finished product that sits on a shelf waiting to be purchased. From harvesting to the hands of the farmers that are responsible for the delicacy of fresh produce, as consumers we need to stay knowledgeable and informed about the farmers that aid the agriculture behind these huge conglomerate companies.

It’s been a well known and unfortunate reality that farm workers in many countries such as India, China, and other parts of the world are immensely mistreated and underpaid, well below average living conditions. Farmworkers are being exploited for their time and hard labor not only by underpayment but abuse, lack of fresh water, no benefits for being employed, and many more unfathomable circumstances.

You would think abuse and violations of human rights in tea plantations would be a thing of the past but as of recent times (31st of May 2018) a two-year study by the Global Business of Forced Labour investigated the business model of many global tea companies and even that of many cocoa supply chains and found they are wrongdoers of economic coercion. The study was done with accuracy with the dataset and in-depth interviews with over 120 tea and cocoa workers; including many interviews with tea businesses, government, and plantation managers.

It’s despairing having to read the above and ironically find out that the beverage of the camellia sinensis leaves (green tea, matcha, etc) and many others produced–such as those from cocoa trees–are the cause of the malnourishment and even deaths of many of the farm workers that harvested these appetizing plants to begin with. Being a consumer should not be a burden at the cost of someone’s miserable life and health, for the enjoyment of our well being or having a tasty drink or snack.

What Consumers Can Do

The only way to have peace of mind as a tea consumer and to make sure that you are not contributing to the profits of these mega-corporations mass exploiting farm workers is to purchase from only ethical tea brands. Many of the tea brands that are doing things right adopt organic farming practices which optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals, and the people; as well as not using any harmful chemicals (pesticides, harmful plastics in tea bags) and most importantly they comply with safe farming practices that promote the farmers well being and livelihood. It starts with educating ourselves as the consumer to help the lives of many across the globe for the better of humanity.

Sources:
https://modernfarmer.com/2018/06/labor-conditions-on-tea-and-cocoa-farms-are-extremely-not-good/
https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/articles/rainforest-alliance-certified-tea
https://worldoftea.org/is-chinese-tea-safe-to-drink/

Image Source



What Tea Consumers Should Be Aware Of


Food production over the last century has taken a turn for the better, new technology allows many industries to mass produce food or beverages as fast as you can think to blink. All the way from manufacturing and food distribution, to wholesale and eventually to the consumer’s house. Everything looks simple, as a consumer, we hardly have a clue what goes on behind the label or ingredients that most products contain.

Whether you’re mindful of GMO in food or not, we need to be remain attentive about what we are consuming. What we put into our body greatly determines our future health, for good or bad. Nevertheless what we really ought to be watchful for is the great measures many food processing companies go through to create a finished product that sits on a shelf waiting to be purchased. From harvesting to the hands of the farmers that are responsible for the delicacy of fresh produce, as consumers we need to stay knowledgeable and informed about the farmers that aid the agriculture behind these huge conglomerate companies.

It’s been a well known and unfortunate reality that farm workers in many countries such as India, China, and other parts of the world are immensely mistreated and underpaid, well below average living conditions. Farmworkers are being exploited for their time and hard labor not only by underpayment but abuse, lack of fresh water, no benefits for being employed, and many more unfathomable circumstances.

You would think abuse and violations of human rights in tea plantations would be a thing of the past but as of recent times (31st of May 2018) a two-year study by the Global Business of Forced Labour investigated the business model of many global tea companies and even that of many cocoa supply chains and found they are wrongdoers of economic coercion. The study was done with accuracy with the dataset and in-depth interviews with over 120 tea and cocoa workers; including many interviews with tea businesses, government, and plantation managers.

It’s despairing having to read the above and ironically find out that the beverage of the camellia sinensis leaves (green tea, matcha, etc) and many others produced–such as those from cocoa trees–are the cause of the malnourishment and even deaths of many of the farm workers that harvested these appetizing plants to begin with. Being a consumer should not be a burden at the cost of someone’s miserable life and health, for the enjoyment of our well being or having a tasty drink or snack.

What Consumers Can Do

The only way to have peace of mind as a tea consumer and to make sure that you are not contributing to the profits of these mega-corporations mass exploiting farm workers is to purchase from only ethical tea brands. Many of the tea brands that are doing things right adopt organic farming practices which optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals, and the people; as well as not using any harmful chemicals (pesticides, harmful plastics in tea bags) and most importantly they comply with safe farming practices that promote the farmers well being and livelihood. It starts with educating ourselves as the consumer to help the lives of many across the globe for the better of humanity.

Sources:
https://modernfarmer.com/2018/06/labor-conditions-on-tea-and-cocoa-farms-are-extremely-not-good/
https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/articles/rainforest-alliance-certified-tea
https://worldoftea.org/is-chinese-tea-safe-to-drink/

Image Source



Melons and Tea—Summer’s Almost Here


It’s getting close to that time of year when thumping watermelons is an acceptable sport, gauging their ripeness and readiness to be cleaved, peeled, seeded, and chunked. What does all of this have to do with tea?  It’s this: a simple sweet-tasting pitcher of green tea, perhaps a sencha (go light when brewing the tea, probably 1-2 grams per 8 oz of water at 170 degrees F., for 1 minute or two, and then cooled and chilled) is complexed and jazzed-up when the tea is pureed with fresh watermelon. Trust me. Here’s how to do it:

Freeze the watermelon chunks, placed in a container with a tight-fitting lid and then whirl them with the tea in a high-powered blender or watertight food processor for a rewarding slushy texture. To my taste, the sweetness of a good watermelon is all the tea needs to be mellowed but not overwhelmed. But If you crave a sweeter beverage, add a bit of lime syrup to taste. This is simply made by boiling equal quantities by weight of white sugar and water until you have a syrup that is only slightly thickened. Add in a good slug of freshly squeezed lime juice (1/4 c. per pint of syrup) and toss in some freshly grated zest of lime. This concoction keeps well in a covered glass jar for close to a week, ready for those times when you wish to add zing to any summer fruit (nectarines, plums, peaches, cantaloupe, honeydew) that needs some brightening.

Oh, and speaking of cantaloupes, when they come into your local farmer’s market, be ready with some brewed black Chinese tea, particularly Keemun, with its slightly smoky earthy quality which marries beautifully with dead-ripe fruit. Whirl the fruit in a blender with equal parts of the tea and a few ice cubes (perhaps made from some of that brewed tea) until you have a pleasantly grainy granita texture. Scoop into a sundae glass or tea mug and spoon a dollop a bit of slightly sweetened softly whipped cream over it.  Indulge with your favorite moist chewy ginger molasses cookie. This is heaven in a glass and on a plate on a hot summer’s day.

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Our Routines and Our Rituals


Routines give us stability rituals provide us with sanctuary.

We are taught routines at a very young age, and they are believed to be notably beneficial for children because they provide a sense of security and surety. Most of us hold fast to our routines in adulthood, and I’m sure every one of us knows what it is like to have our routines upset; just as many have probably experienced what happens when you disturb the habits of another. It throws people off — and they don’t like that!

For some people, their routines give them a sense of control and for those that only have that going for them in their lives one is advised not to mess with it!

Alarm clocks set to a specific time followed by the exact morning routines are how most people begin their days. Many prepare the night before even right down to what they will wear the next day this is helpful because it cuts down on the decisions one has to make first thing in the morning. Yes, we easily become creatures of habit. Our daily routines: brushing our teeth, showering, dressing, eating, exercising, going to work, cleaning, making meals, etc., often end up being done mindlessly and meaninglessly entirely on autopilot. We end up taking these things for granted things that billions of people on this planet can only dream.

We take our rituals much more seriously or do we?

Rituals are often associated with religious celebrations, cultural and spiritual traditions, to rites of passage from birth, to puberty, to marriage, and to death. Birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and such are all rites of passage that we acknowledge but tend to marginalize and gloss over the greater meaning.

Often regimented, rituals do take more thought and effort and therefore have more meaning. This is a deep subject that I wish to touch upon for the sake of tying into our rituals as tea drinkers. Oh yes; for many, tea drinking is a routine as well, and one for which many take pride. Just as routines become mundane, we can turn rituals into mindless events, too.

So, let’s not do that let’s wake up period!

Many “gurus,” spiritual or business, will often tell you that how you start your day sets the tone for the success of your business, and for your life.

To begin the day being mindful of the many blessings we all have is a powerful way to start the day this also takes what is routine, elevate it, and can turn it into a ritual.

As I’ve been saying for almost fifteen years now a simple cup of tea has the power to transform one’s life. Turned into a personal ritual the graceful act of mindfully sipping one’s tea refreshes and resets the mind, the day, the mood, the situation, the problem; and a mind and heart relieved of stress and strife is unstoppable.

The ritual of preparing, serving, and sipping tea becomes sacred, as we’ve witnessed and been taught about in the tea industry.

Water is often involved with sacred rituals as it is in our routines, morning and otherwise. From cooking, cleaning, cleansing and nourishing the body, or boiling it for tea, water is a reminder of the sanctity of life without it, we perish life perishes. Water is purification, it’s baptism, it’s fluidity, it’s renewal, it’s fertility, it’s transformation, and deeply symbolic in every culture, and essential for a perfect cup of tea.

Each ritualistic sip is a blessing it’s an expression of gratitude a reconnection with something that joyfully returns us to our higher selves.

More on the rituals of tea in my next post …

Images are public domain, provided by author