For the longest time, I thought cycling was one of the dumbest sports around. Wearing tight spandex and seated in an awkward position while feeling the rattling of metal against my spine sounds about as enticing as drinking tea made from stale tea bags for the rest of my life.
“Why don’t you just get a car? Or if you enjoy the wind against your face, get a motorbike. Besides, if you are cycling the same route every time, what’s the joy?” I would think whenever my cyclist friends tried to share their passion. Lately, I think I can understand why. Making tea is often viewed as a means to an end:
- How much tea should I add?
- What water temperature?
- What should I set my timer to?
Or, for some of the more tech savvy in our midst:
- What machine should I buy?
- Which app should I download?
Making tea is almost formulaic and a matter of adherence to instructions and parameters. Almost like making coffee (ooh, the sacrilege!). Making tea, though, is much more than that. There is joy to be derived from the little details that enhance your brew – how the water is poured, how the leaves are placed, how the water is boiled, what type of vessel is used, and how long the tea is steeped, myriad details just to coax extra flavor out of your leaf.
Like a cyclist who yearns to clock in a new personal best, the brewer aims to enhance the fullness of the taste, enjoying the process of brewing. Apart from the element of personal improvement, there is also the tranquility of brewing tea. Tea can be brewed simply or it can be brewed in an elaborate manner – there is a place for both.
Not everyone desires to go through the rituals of a Japanese or Chinese tea ceremony, but we can find our own regime. Just enjoy making tea slowly, deliberately, taking note of the little details. It is relaxing and helps to shift our focus from the anxieties of life – albeit for a moment.
Making tea is almost an end in itself. Why almost? Because it would be torture to have put in so much effort into make a good pot of tea and not enjoy a single sip of it!
On a handful of occassions I have made a special pot of tea. As I wait for the brewing to be completed, a take a phone call which ends up being an important one and the tea is forgotten. When I finally get back to my life and my tea, I discover the wasted tea which was overbrewed during my distraction. I can’t even pour it out to try another cup. I’ve learned to let it go and start over again. Tea teaches us many things. Patience, forgiveness, tranquility and delight. I value each lesson that presents itself to me. Thank you for a thought provoking post.