5 Tips on how to put the Zen back in your takeaway tea
We can taste the love in a cup of tea that’s been prepared for us with intention and care.
It is not dissimilar to the experience associated with tea ceremony —
from an earthy yerba mate gourd circle in South America, to the Zen origins of a Japanese green tea ritual, these traditions have been practiced in all corners of the globe for centuries.
Tea ceremony honours the plants and brings sacredness to everyday experience.
So, in the era of the tea bag and powdered tea beverages, how do we put the ceremony back into our cuppa?
The Way of the Tea #1: Love your herb
Ancient Wisdoms: Two key factors which have influenced the evolution of tea ceremony have been scarcity and the perspective of plant as medicine.
Tea was not native to Japan and from the Nara period to the Heian period (794-1192), it was a rare commodity. Ceremony rose up in appreciation for this precious resource.
Globally, yerba mate, green and puerh teas are considered some of the world’s most medicinal. One element of tea ceremony surrounding these plants includes the best method of preparation to preserve their therapeutic properties. For example, yerba mate is traditionally steeped in non-boiling water so the vitamins, minerals and amino acids are not destroyed.
Along with preparation methods, these ceremonies also carry a reverence for the tea’s healing nature. For some cultures these teas were The Superfood or The Health Elixir of their diet.
Modern Ways: The modern luxury of anything, anytime, from anywhere, means we rarely create moments of respect and gratitude for what we consume.
This is when an act of consumerism can turn into a ritual of appreciation.
Money spent, speaks of what we are valuing.
We can love our herb by purchasing sustainable, ethically grown and high quality teas.
The Way of the Tea #2: All about etiquette
Ancient Wisdoms: Tea etiquette is another language of respect for the tea and also mirrors and strengthens elements of culture.
In some yerba mate circles, the gourd is always passed clockwise. Each person drinks from the same cup with the same metal straw. It can be offensive to wipe in between. This tradition imparts a sense of “one people” amongst the drinkers and speaks of the value of coming together in community.
In comparison, there are tea ceremonies where elders may be served first or the guest of honour. In the Japanese tradition, the host places the tea utensils in the most aesthetically pleasing view point to the main guest.
Modern Ways: The habitual practices around tea reflect how we move through life. Our cup of tea asks,
‘How is the great ceremony of life looking?’
‘Is the train hurtling down the track so fast that everything out the window is just a blurred mess?’
‘Do you want to be a passenger on that train?’
‘How does your morning cup of tea look…from the platform?!’
The Way of the Tea #3: Become your own Master
Ancient Wisdoms: Most tea rituals have a master of ceremonies. This is the person that serves the tea and holds the ceremony. For yerba mate it is the cebador, while a tea master in Japan is called Chajin.
The master of ceremony is both an expert in the methodology of extraction and in the social etiquette of serving tea. Most importantly, the master shares these beautiful traditions with others.
Modern Ways: There is true mastery in giving.
And there is nothing like receiving a cup of tea from a friend or a stranger.
The Way of the Tea #4: Zen Out, Zen In
Ancient Wisdoms: The tradition of Japanese Tea ceremony has its origins in Zen Buddhism.
There is a strong link to the natural world and promoting harmony in nature. This includes a special style of flower arrangement that accompanies the tea ceremony called Cabana (meaning “tea flower”). It is a minimalist practice that uses only seasonal foliage.
A sense of deep appreciation wells up with such purposeful and simple representations of beauty.
Modern Ways: The tea bag asks, ‘Where is your mind?’ ‘Are you with me?’ ‘How about now?’
Take a moment with the tea. Perhaps in the park or with the pot plant at work.
Adorn the tea cup with flower petals or micro herbs.
Smell the tea.
The Way of the Tea #5: Cups & Saucers for Eyes
Ancient Wisdoms: Tea paraphernalia maketh the ceremony!
From the wooden matcha whisks and hand sculpted ceramics of the Japanese, to the fine bone china of the English, each culture has their own extraordinary way of presenting tea that excites the senses and makes the tea taste better.
Modern Ways: White clone cups belong on the Death Star!
Let only something you adore touch those lips.
Take your cast iron tea set to work.
Get the yerba mate gourd with your birth symbol engraved in gold.
This is The Way of the Tea. This is the tea ceremony called life.
Bombisha helps you love your tea and bring the ceremony into your tea on-the-go with this Zen glass tea bottle.