Reasons you should make tea a part of your everyday life.
There is something ever so calming about a warm cup of tea. It keeps perfect company over conversation and acts as a warm hug when presented by a friend. The beverage has been incorporated into our every day lives but very rarely do we find ourselves appreciating a deeper meaning behind it. Tea has a rich history in many cultures and every country has their own special way they brew and consume it.
In Japan they practice Chanoyu, a Japanese tea making ceremony which is both a part of mediation and considered an art. The ceremony concentrates on the relationship between the host and guest. The purpose is to bring you into the present moment. The tea ceremony arguably could be even more relevant today then it was when originally created. With all the busyness of modern life and go go attitude of our society it is important to surrender to the now every once in a while and focus on what you have and where you are in a particular moment. During the ceremony there are four guiding inspirations “wa, kei, sei, jaku — Harmony, Respect, Purity and Tranquility.” These guiding inspirations are basic principles that can be incorporated into your everyday life and can contribute to your overall well being. (Kingsbury, Sheela.)
Matcha, a powdered green tea typically used in the tea ceremony also has many amazing health benefits. Green tea in general has been know to help with weight loss, cancer prevention, anti-viral and anti-bacterial benefits, fight depression, lower blood pressure, acts as UV protection, and anti-aging. (Conlon, Ciara)
Here’s a link to watch the actual ceremony
Another country well known for their love for tea is England. Tea became engrained in British culture around the 20th century. It slowly became apart of every day life both in the upper and lower class. Anna Russell, duchess of Bedford Felt a bit hungry between meals and ordered tea and snacks to her room. After the snack tied her over she started to make it a ritual soon inviting friends over to join her. Thus began the trend of afternoon tea. (Whitehead, Nadia.) English Breakfast tea, a black tea served with cream and sugar is the main tea served during tea time. It’s health benefits include and increase in energy (From natural caffeine), better immune system, lower risk of diabetes, antioxidants, and bone health to name a few. (Dhawan, Vibha) Tea has since become a huge part of British culture and a sacred time to spend with friends.
For more on why the British love tea so much and how English tea is properly prepared watch these videos below:
Other countries with a well known tea tradition include China, India, Russia France, Morocco, Egypt and Turkey. India is known for their strong black tea with spices also known as chai tea. It is often served with a savory treat like samosas. Morocco on the other hand has a mint tea drunk through out the day. Even the United States has their own take with a classic sweet and southern tea normally served cold. (Cultural Tea Traditions)
Tea can offer lessons besides just health benefits and history. For starters the brew is a reminder that community is important. Most tea time traditions circulate around sharing a cup with a friend or offering someone a cup you made. It is a way of humbling yourself by serving another person and looking after someone else’s well being.
Tea is an equalizer. In the Japanese ceremony you are sharing one cup that is respectfully being cleansed between guest. It presents a personal moment of trust. In many countries offering tea is a sign of hospitality and presents a personal interest in the people around you. As the guest, by accepting the tea you are saying that you accept their hospitality and trust the person offering their personal cup and brew.
Tea reminds you that it is important to focus on the present. Even just talking over a casual cup with a friend draws you to pay attention to the current moment. There are so many distractions in life. If you are always focusing on the future, then you can become over whelmed and if you focus on the past you can become bound with the inability to move forward. Putting down your phone and other distractions long enough to enjoy the company of a friend is a valuable experience.
Tea is often enjoyed with a small snack or something sweet. I interpret this as a personal reminder that you should enjoy the sweeter things in life and never be empty by the worries of what hasn’t happened yet. The size of the snack emphasizes having a balance in your life. Treating yourself but not over indulging. It is meant to satisfy not stuff.
In my own life I have made many friends and heard many stories over a cup of tea. It acts as a companion on a cool winters day with a nice book. I take tea as a reminder to take care of yourself mentally and physically but also welcome the company of others. What we normally think of as just a basic beverage you can order at any old café or buy venti sized at Starbucks can act as a little life reminder. Don’t forget to enjoy sipping on the little things in life. Stay open to the possibili-TEA of some possitivi-TEA.
Kingsbury, Sheela. “The Art of Japanese Tea Ceremony.” The Art of Japanese Tea Ceremony. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.
Whitehead, Nadia. “High Tea, Afternoon Tea, Elevens: English Tea Times For Dummies.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.
Dhawan, Vibha. “11 Benefits of Black Tea That You Didn’t Know About.” Life Hack. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.
Conlon, Ciara. “11 Benefits of Green Tea That You Didn’t Know About.” Life Hack. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.
“All Things Tea.” Cultural Tea Traditions. Nap., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.