“Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
As if it is the axis on which the whole earth revolves
Slowly, evenly without rushing toward the future.
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
“If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.” ~Japanese Proverb
“Tea is a cup of life.” ~Author Unknown
“Tea is liquid wisdom.” ~Anonymous
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~C.S. Lewis
Divinity is a smile or a tear drop; or yes, even a cup of fresh green tea.
-Chinese Author unknown
“Tea…is a religion of the art of life.” ~Okakura
I am Chajin. A 98% Loose leaf gentleman.
When in practice, and with access to loose leaf tea, I drink tea daily. With Loose leaf, often I will stay with the same tea for 2-3 days. With Teabags I flit around between kinds a bit more, though if I am restricted to only teabags due to any kind of lack of access, I often reduce my tea to a few a week, get bored easily, and as a supertaster I am very sensitive to quality.
Being of Japanese, English, French, Welsh heritage(Southern, Texas),I have had a lifetime’s experience in true teas, in one way or another. Growing up, my mother’s cupboard was rarely without a daily go-to quality genmaicha, and a matcha for cooking. My father loves blacks, and his mother was never without a box of Red Rose Tea. My Aunt and Uncle usually had Greens,Pouchongs and Oolongs around the house. Due to location and accessibility issues, I have gravitated towards bagged tea recently, but grateful to find more options opening up for me, and it is a relief to restructure my loose leaf stash!
I think of Teas as friends…exploring new relationships, deepening established ones…having a strong circle of solid support to stand alongside you through life…I have found some of these kinds of relationships with individual teas, I am hoping to find/build more along my journey courting my current circle of acquaintances, and not get sidetracked by frivolous dalliances flirting too long with a newcomer along the way.
(Due to this point of view, I will often taste a tea at least twice before fully evaluating enough even for a first rating.)
I drink true teas, and tisanes. Among Tea,
I love my Japanese Greens, and more recently love exploring whites and oolongs, and want to rediscover Pouchongs. Mixed results so far with pu-erh and also blacks, but use blacks for chai, as well as medicinally. Limited exposure to (Chinese)red teas, but interested. No experience with yellow or purple teas.
Among herbal and floral notes, my favorites are (Seaweed) Kombucha, Mints, Ginger, Honeysuckle,Yuzu, Jasmine, Lavender, and Rose.
After all this time, I still understand unflavored Matcha, jasmine or rose fragrance in tea to be a sweet tea.
The flavors I Treasure in my Tea are the Classics/Orthodox blends, I gravitate most towards the layered and nuanced teas.
Of those I always return to Scented and “Plain”…while I do enjoy some classic flavored tea also. I feel strongly that life is to short to drink bad tea.
Ingredients you will not find in my tea stash: 1. Stevia, 2. rooibos (red or green), 3. Fermented kombucha, or more accurately, kōcha kinoko.
I am attempting to avoid any artificial flavors as well.
My permanent stash consists of mostly varieties, teas I know I enjoy at any temperature( at least 1-2 each of Houjicha, Genmaicha, Sencha, Moroccan or other Green tea/Mint Blend, Thai blend, Silk Oolong, Jasmine, Chai, and White, Matcha, Darjeeling Black..
Ginger, Lychee, Lavender, Mint, Rose, Rosehips, Hibiscus, Mugicha, and Japanese Konbu-cha (both plain, and Ume flavors) and Yuzu are among the tisanes/blends ideally in residence) I chose based on overall quality as well as how a tea’s flavor and texture holds up over various temperatures(as in can it cool and keep my interest?).
I try not to be too brand loyal, in case of discontinuance, or lack of common availability.(Of course I do have my further favorites, but I try to find a few qualifying faves to rotate through.)
I have a small collection of tea ware, collect some lines of Wade Rose Tea figurines.
100 = What I will restock first and most likely always have on hand
90-99 = Where is the Tea IV again? Soul Nourishing Teas I never want to be without.
79-90 = Daily Drinker Teas, comfort teas must haves.
66-78 = Specialty stash. Seasonal must haves, Medicinals, Teas that I love that are too expensive/rare to qualify for unrestrained consumption, or that I have to “be in the mood for”
65-50 = Acceptable, 2nd choice brands or types of of my staple kinds of tea, teas that may need reconsideration.
30-49 = Will drink if only tea around. Won’t buy personally.
48-20 = Might finish a tasting cup…For Research only.
20-1 = Why am I drinking this?….Just…NO.
1= also often a tea where the smell of it, dry, or brewed makes my physically react badly, before tasting
Rated, but No tasting note?
I have tried it prior to joining, and rated from memory. If it is in my stash, or something that got a high enough rating to revisit, I will get to an update with a formal tasting note as well. OR: The first smell or sip made me ill enough, I did not proceed with the tasting.
Favorite Companies So far:
Nature’s Tea Leaf
The Persimmon Tree
Steven Smith Teamaker
Japanese Green Tea Shops
Blue Lotus Chai
Red Leaf Tea
the minimalism of tea
“Tea is a an act complete in its simplicity.
When I drink tea, there is only me, and the tea.
The rest of the world dissolves.
There are no worries about the future.
No dwelling on past mistakes.
Tea is simple: loose-leaf tea, hot pure water, a cup.
I inhale the scent, tiny delicate pieces of the tea floating above the cup.
I drink the tea, the essence of the leaves becoming a part of me.
I am informed by the tea, changed.
This is the act of life, in one pure moment, and in this act the truth of the world suddenly becomes revealed: all the complexity, pain, drama of life is a pretense, invented in our minds for no good purpose.
There is only the tea, and me, converging."
Thich Nhat Hanh: Tea Ceremony