Recipe for Spirit
About 10 years ago I had to move suddenly from a condo that sold much faster than anticipated; While I always recognize the value of change, I tend to put down deep roots and there is always a transition period that feels kind of shaky and uncomfortable. It was during this time that I discovered the comforting and relaxing ritual of sitting with a morning pot of tea.
Having worked in Japan on a monthly basis training therapists for over a decade, I became familiar with the tea ritual. Every hotel room, office and home is equipped with a hot pot that keeps water at boiling temperatures and operates with just a pump so you can have an instant cup of tea. (You can see an example of these thermal hot pots here – they are really handy to have around – I’ve had one of these now for over 15 years.) When I arrived at my Tokyo home every month I’d go out to the local convenience store and pick up a small carton of soy milk so that I could make a cup of tea each morning before heading out to work. Up until this time I would use tea bags for my morning “cuppa”, mainly an Irish breakfast blend and occasionally an herbal blend at night for relaxation.
In my new home, I decided to convert a wet bar into a tea bar. I stacked the shelves with boxes of different kinds of teas, whimsical teapots that I had purchased in Japan and other countries I visited, a water filter system and of course, my trusty hot pot. I started doing research on tea and learned about the amazing variety of teas and their unique, relaxing or stimulating qualities. One of my favorite sources is a website I found called The Tea Table. I signed up for their Tea-of-the-Month Club so that I could experiment with an assortment, since up until that point I did not have much exposure to the incredible range of tea products.
So many to choose from!
Once I began my journey of discovery into the wonderful world of tea, I experimented with the many incarnations of the Camilla Sinensis, the bush and leaves from which black, green and white varieties are derived. The most common tea that is found in the U.S. and U.K. are the black teas which are brewed from leaves that have been ripened, fermented and exposed to air for oxidation. Black tea has its own unique and robust flavor and contains the highest amount of caffeine. When you re-steep a teabag or add fresh hot water to tea leaves, the second pouring is naturally caffeine-free. Green tea leaves are not fermented, just allowed to air-dry and steamed or pan-fried to bring out the mellow flavor. Loaded with anti-oxidants, green tea has less caffeine than black. White tea, which was really not know in the U.S. until a few years ago, is made from immature leaves and buds that have not fully ripened. The taste is very delicate and pleasant and blends well with floral and citrus notes. One of my favorite white teas has overtones of lychee nuts and when I sit with a steaming cup, I love breathing in the perfume of the blend.
If you enjoy a full-bodied black tea but are wanting to stay away from caffeine, do experiment with South African Rooibos (red bush) tea! It is a deep red tea that blends gorgeously with nut, soy or dairy milk and fully satisfies me when I want to ritual of tea but without the caffeine. Rooibos is another tea that melds perfectly with added ingredients; some of my favorites are Georgia Peach Rooibos, Vanilla Creme and Chocolate Caramel. There is a Caribbean blend that has dried rose petals and mango pieces that I haven’t been able to find recently, that we used for many years in our Fairy Tea Party event service — ideal for serving to little girls — as it’s never to early to introduce young ladies to the relaxing ritual of tea.
Herbal teas are not really teas, but more of an infusion of hot water over herbs, leaves, flowers or stems that have either medicinal or calming properties. I recommended some great blends in a recent article, Healthy Hydration Tips, along with some clever equipment ideas. Sitting down with a warm herbal blend is the kind of indulgence that we should all practice regularly.
Advantages of adding the ritual of tea to your day:
- Helps you balance between “busyness” and “beingness”
- Encourages you to take a break so that you have time to tune into the states of reverie which can boost your intuition, creativity and self-healing
- Sipping a cup of tea grounds you in the moment and allows you to reflect on how you are using (or abusing) your energy
- There is something very “zen-like” about breathing in the aroma of the steam, savoring the flavors and allowing the experience to envelop all of your senses.
Check out our Fairy Tea Party event service for do-it-yourself packages at 60-75% savings! A magical experience that you will remember forever…
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