Friday, May 24, 2013

Tea stories of yore.

I Just decided to post some tea wisdom for the soul. It enlightened my afternoon. Hope you can find the same peace from it.

A master of the tea ceremony in old Japan once accidentally slighted a soldier. He quickly apologized, but the rather impetuous soldier demanded that the matter be settled in a sword duel. The tea master, who had no experience with swords, asked the advice of a fellow Zen master who did possess such skill.

As he was served by his friend, the Zen swordsman could not help but notice how the tea master performed his art with perfect concentration and tranquility. "Tomorrow," the Zen swordsman said, "when you duel the soldier, hold your weapon above your head, as if ready to strike, and face him with the same concentration and tranquility with which you perform the tea ceremony."

The next day, at the appointed time and place for the duel, the tea master followed this advice. The soldier, readying himself to strike, stared for a long time into the fully attentive but calm face of the tea master. Finally, the soldier lowered his sword, apologized for his arrogance, and left without a blow being struck.

Tea or Iron

The Zen master Hakuin used to tell his students about an old woman who owned a tea shop in the village. She was skilled in the tea ceremony, Hakuin said, and her understanding of Zen was superb. Many students wondered about this and went to the village themselves to check her out.

Whenever the old woman saw them coming, she could tell immediately whether they had come to experience the tea, or to probe her grasp of Zen. Those wanting tea she served graciously. For the others wanting to learn about her Zen knowledge, she hid until they approached her door and then attacked them with a fire poker. Only one out of ten managed to escape her beating.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Can't leave, gotta drink more tea.

It had been next to impossible to leave the house that day. I had officially purchased too many different varieties of tea and was certain that I would never be released into the day, for wanting yet another cuppa brew. Too much obsession ran through my head and heart, as I knew no cup would match what I have found in my own home. 

The delicious flavors and leaves were just all too fascinating and I had to make just one more cup to see how different one tasted from another, one brand to the next (though I'm pretty true to Adagio and Ten Ren these days). 

Would there be an end to the obsession?? Now that my pot offers precise temperature and therefore dictates accurate flavors, I'm not sure leaving the house is an option anymore.

I was literally pulling out three ceramic pots: one made 16 oz., 1 quart and 2 quarts. The largest one I made white tea in. The quart sized got the greens and the small one got a cup of black tea just for taste. Once the teas were made, I got to steeping and sipping on the variances between cups, documenting my findings. 

I am still learning how to talk about the body and leaf, and make it appeal to the tea community. Best thing to do is to keep talking to other tea afficionados who love the leaf as I.

Yeah. Busy day.

A Taurus Cuppa

Adagio thinks that Taurus tastes like oolong and white tea with the flavor of peaches on a mid spring day. Well I agree, as I bring the cup to my lips, a pleasant feeling of euphoria passes thru.

I'm actually rather intuitive about the tea I choose to drink. I sometimes get intercepted by what caffeinated influence I think need to be in place, but then I push that aside and I make the cup that speaks to me. It is indeed interesting that I was having a taste for a medium body, fruity and earthy taste, with notes of apple and marigold accent flavors threatening to take center stage. It's all I know, to allow the sensation into my space and drink the tea from within. So ultimately, Does it matter what the tea tastes like, if the experience and process has so much meaning? Sometimes I feel the taste pushes me thru the medium, a conduit to the Divine...

I take pleasure in knowing how much I attain from a good cup of tea. My obsession with the drink does not go unnoticed, nor is it shared alone, I am sure, though I sometimes feel rather alone in my desire to attain so many cups. Meanwhile, it is may, and the zodiac dictates a taurean energy flowing thru our consciousness. This may bring people to think about their money and how they spend and save, or make one feel rather domestic, or even plain sleepy and lazy. It's interesting how it just offers me a window for contemplation, and to take in spring's true messages. I am feeling that this tea played a larger role this morning in my breakfast than I am giving credit. I feel ready to thank the designer of this tea for tapping accurately into the pulse of this planetary leaning, to channel a cup of wisdom that is currently inspiring my taurean outlook.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Unpacking is starting to feel like a metaphor of sorts...

As I unpacked my box of Adagio teas after purchasing a rather large shipment, I began to see my obsession clearly through the eyes of a variety of flavors I felt I just had to have. With tea, I am not so sure this is a bad thing. However, I had to know that, no matter how much I brought in, I have to also either use it or pack it out, and a time of moving, summer, is fast approaching, and I want to be ready for what comes.

I am bringing forth many emotional waves of change as I prepare my white tea for probably the first time at the correct temperature. It never seemed to matter much to me, but once I saw that there was a teapot whose temperature I wouldn't need to check with a thermometer, it made me understand just how deeply I want to delve into the world of such hot liquified bliss, and how each moment could most possibly be spent drinking multiple hot cups of tea while unpacking boxes of tea and emotions.

White tea has never tasted better.
The interesting thing is, tea has never been mixed in my world until now, and I'm reading that one needs to pay attention to the most delicate leaf in the blend, as this leaf guides the temperature of the cup. It also affects flavor, and body. Some teas I've bought can take a little sugar, like the Chicago Jazz mint. I look forward to tasting each cup.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cups of Genius.

The multiple cuppa greets me warmly this evening.

One electric kettle is going, while at least three pots of tea are made to brew. As I sit to the work, a deep solace washes over me, along with maybe the third cup. When I say cup, I mean mug, at least 16 to 20 ounces worth. I usually do not attempt to slam multiple cups of black tea in the evenings, but I do crave one mug of a rich brew to satisfy my desire to take part in an evening of rambling, studying and perusing both informative and entertaining, educational and spiritual articles and views.

All the while, the tea quietly plays genius to all my mental ramblings.

My brain is alive and surely on its edge amidst the beginning of the mercury retrograde phase, which always tends to inspire my pen or the typewritten word. I joyfully engage in deep intellectual discourse with my geniuses each, understanding the inspiration of the leaf, expertly embedded with care in each cup.

Speaking of geniuses, experts, leaves and retrogrades, in my evening drinks I have been studying the zodiac blends offered by Adagio tea company. The blends are each so individually gorgeous in their presentation, including packaging, fragrance, blend and flavor. They are so satisfying, leaving me to think that the combination of leaves and flavors are so perfect, they inspire an enhanced state of astrological awareness, corresponding to that particular sign and planet. I love it, the concept and the execution of such tasty, quality goodness. Let's discuss the moment we are in.

Taurus is the moment we are in...however, I am drawn this evening to white teas. Taurus definitely offers the white tea leaf, blended with oolong, peach flavor, apple pieces, marigold petals, and apricot pieces. The flavor is down to earth, grounding, soothing and mildly fruity. The white tea is so earthy that I may not have thought much of the taste if it were not due to apricot, peach and apple playing a starring role in its overall outcome. Taurus makes me feel that both feet are on the ground and after drinking a cup, go back to work.

It's interesting that the pisces blend is the cup I'm drinking now, and it gives me a different view on things. (Definitely, pisces comes before Taurus, even in tea world.) My tea class taught me that the perfect cup involves a variety of elements, and it is often said that many will be offended by the taste of a tea whose temperature is wrong. This intrigues me, for the difference in taste tonight seems to be due to that very concept. I have always been aware that teas take a variety of temperatures depending on type of leaf, but I have never really cared, or gotten anal about it. Now that my tea drinking is becoming more refined, I purchased an electric tea kettle by Adagio, to keep my mind focused on more important things, letting the teapot find the perfect temperature for the tea.

Now, the pisces blend contains rooibos, black tea, chamomile, white tea, orange peels, lemongrass, cornflowers, orange flavor, and grapefruit flavor. It is an interesting idea that I had never loved this flavor before and now, total acceptance and enjoyment of the taste. It is soft, floral, orangey, with a light bite, since there really can't be too many black tea leaves. It is perfect for a late night, or the last, cup. It is not surprising at all that a dreamy sign whose energy is dreamy in nature, be perfectly replicated by a cup of tea. It's really hitting the spot.