Monday, February 14, 2011

For the love of tea

Made with Joy's Teaspoon's Schnozberry
My daughter usually wakes us up in the morning. She either comes running into our room, or yells 'mommy' until she gets some attention.  She's the best little alarm clock in the world. When I get up, few things are certain. But I know I'll get to kiss my husband and my children. I also know I'll have a good cup of tea.

I love that I can share tea with my family. My husband enjoys it, and we often share a pot together. Often on weekends one of us will be up with the kids first. That person usually has a pot ready when the other wakes up. It's not just a pleasant courtesy, it shows our mutual respect and love. I even let my daughter steal tastes of my tea. She is too young to drink a full cup, but I love that she wants to try all the different flavors. She revels in the tea preparation process. We pick the tea to brew, she gets to smell the tea before we add the hot water, and we watch it change color as it brews. Then once it's poured, we smell and taste it together. She also has fun pretending to prepare tea for me. There are often the remains of a play tea party on our kitchen floor.

I drink tea for the taste and caffeine, but also for the ritual. I get to stop what I'm doing, and do something just for myself (and for whomever else I'm preparing tea for). The tea will boost my mood before I even drink it. If I'm having a stressful, or cranky day, just the act of preparing tea will calm me and improve my state of mind. It lets me take a step back, and re-focus my attention. It helps me think about myself, instead of the chaos in my day. I try to relax while the tea is brewing, and enjoy the aroma it imparts. I can let my mind wander as I let the tea cool to just the right temperature. For me, when it is about lukewarm it just tastes better. I'm like Goldilocks.
Made with Tea Palace's Palace breakfast, Joy's Teaspoon's Schnozberry
Growing up, I drank tea with my parents and grandparents. It was plain 'ol bagged orange pekoe, but add in three generations sitting around a table and sipping, and it becomes a special memory. I used to steal sugar cubes from my grandparents' covered sugar bowl, dip them in the tea, and bite. It wasn't exactly a good way to taste the tea, but it is a treasured memory. It was a way for me to patiently sit with the adults as they drank their tea, and feel included in the activity.

There is even a special relationship with certain teaware.I have a teapot and cups that become seasoned with use, a unique integral part of the tea drinking experience. I also had an extensive search for a Chawan to use for matcha. It's not a particularly fancy tea bowl, but I put much time and effort to find the perfect vessel for me. It has a special place in our china cabinet, away from little fingers. 

Today I'm thinking about how much I love my family and friends. I am raising a mug in their honor. 

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