There’s something very special about being still and focused when preparing and drinking tea. Lucidity is the word in this case. In the moment, there’s rich detail: cups/bowls, leaves, pots, water, temperature, colors, shape, form, differential. I’ve been fascinated by drinking the same puerh and experiencing a slightly different tea every time. It’s a delicious 2009 Organic Ripe Puerh called Black River Mountain from the Yunnan border with Vietnan. It has a wonderful flavor profile that encompasses slightly peaty, nutty, earthy, and fermented. Enter nuance.
Let’s use a metaphor here. If I say, “Think of Miles Davis,” you may begin to associate his name with jazz, trumpet, solo, and revolutionary. I’ll throw in my favorite association with Miles – space. The use of space (rests, in musical terms) made his solos stand the test of time. It was never about how many notes you could play, but how you played them. The rests are something that you never usually pick up on when you’re listening to a solo, but it’s what happens (to me) after you listen to the same piece of music year after year.
My suggestion? Try the same teas again and pick up on any and all nuances. Even though you are drinking the same tea, you really are drinking something slightly different because there are so many variables – the water, the kettle heating the water, the amount being steeped, the temperature outside, the teapot, what you ate prior to drinking, how much sleep you got the previous night, your emotional state …
I’m not suggesting you think about all that while you’re preparing the same tea on a different day, as that could take you far away from the experience of the moment. Be aware of it, rather than think of it.