Friday, June 29, 2012

Steep Thoughts: The Tea Ritual Edition

Over the last few days I've been thinking more about my tea 'rituals'. These are my required routines that center around tea. They help me center my thoughts, and enjoy my cup. Of course there are organized tea rituals such as the Japanese tea ceremony, and preparing tea in the Chinese gongfu style. But my tea rituals are just for me. If I don't get my tea moments every day, something is missing.  I basically have two routines, one for the office, and one for home.

When I am in the office, my morning tea ritual starts as soon as I arrive, steeping leaves in a small teapot. I spend a few minutes transitioning from home life to work, thinking about what lies ahead for the day and what I'd like to accomplish. After a few sips my mood starts to lift as the effects of the tea kick in. This ritual only takes a few minutes as I'm in the office and ready to start the day. It is a good way to wake up, and get my mind focused on the tasks ahead. I have a similar afternoon office tea ritual, but in this case I will stop the work that I'm doing and try to still my mind and focus on the tea I'm drinking. I find that my afternoon cup of tea is relaxing, while my morning cup motivates my brain to wake up.

When I'm at home I have my special tea routines, but I often get sidetracked with two young kids running around. My favorite part of drinking tea at home is that I can share a cup with my daughter, who always asks for sips. We take a few minutes to talk about what she's tasting, and how it tastes different from other types of tea that she's tried. It's a lovely bonding experience, and also helps her learn about her sense of taste. The other benefit of being at home is that I have different teaware. I'll sometimes use a glass teapot, watching the leaves as they brew. Sometimes I'll use a porcelain gaiwan for more interaction with the tea leaves. But the gaiwan is reserved for when the kids aren't around, because it is more delicate, and requires much more attention. The same goes for when I'm feeling brave enough to try and make a bowl of matcha. I'm still a novice so it takes a lot of focus. I often over-steep my tea at home as I am usually paying more attention to my kids than my teapot. If that happens and becomes un-drinkable, I'll dilute the tea and use it to water my plants. I try to never waste a drop!

Do you have your own special tea routines? Feel free to share in the comments.

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