Tea improves concentration, sharpens the eyesight, and tickles the imagination. It strengthens verbs and nouns and enforces correct punctuation. Words come more easily to the tea-inspired writer, and the writing flows.
“There is a subtle charm in the taste of tea which makes it irresistible and capable of idealisation… It has not the arrogance of wine, the self-consciousness of coffee, nor the simpering innocence of cocoa.” – Kakuzo Okakura
Tea is an elemental drink. When we drink tea, we drink sunlight and clouds, earth and flowers, wisdom and health. Drinking tea is a way for us to show our solidarity with the raindrops on a rainy day, or in winter, to soften the cold. In summer, it helps us refresh and relax.
Tea calls for a certain sensibility which not everyone possesses. It calls for the patience to boil the water, steep the leaves, and wait for it to cool.
“Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. In China, in the eight century, it entered the realm of poetry as one of the polite amusements. The fifteenth century saw Japan ennoble it into a religion of aestheticism – Teaism.”
Tea will neither quench your thirst nor will it exalt your senses. But in its modest simplicity, it can awake you to the wisdom of nature and remind you of your indissoluble connection to it.
Once upon a time they boiled tea with onions, but fortunately we know better. Vanilla, rose petals, cinnamon, mango, pineapple, papaya, forest fruits, hazelnuts, and so much more – they can all be distilled into into your cup together with your tea.
“Like Art, Tea has its periods and its schools. Its evolution may be roughly divided into three main stages: the Boiled Tea, the Whipped Tea, and the Steeped Tea… The reason why the Western world is innocent of the older method of drinking tea is explained by the fact that Europe knew it only at the close of the Ming dynasty.”
Tea bags are convenient, but loose tea often has a richer fragrance – you can steep it longer and more thoroughly, for a fuller taste. And, if you store it in a small tin or wooden box, you can pick it up, bring it close to your ear, and shake it gently – you’ll hear whispers of its taste before you taste it.
Tea is good when you drink it alone, and it is also good when you drink it with others. It keeps the conversation going.
If everyone would drink a cup of tea every day, the world would become less stressful, more patient, a little wiser.
Give tea a chance.
Do you drink tea? What’s your favorite?
All quotes are taken from the Penguin Little Black Classics 2016 edition of Kakuzo Okakura’s The Book of Tea, first published in 1906.