We all go on a quest in life looking for something to make it all worth it. We date in search for the one; we apply to jobs in search for one; we look for purpose in search of one. On this journey, we so often find others that we loosely call our favorite, or a temporary favorite, yet we are (hopefully) selective before we dedicate ourselves to one.
In tea, let us find a similar one. There are thousands of tea shops and vendors with tens of thousands of teas, how could we possibly choose just one to be our one tea? The Chinese say, “A great husband makes a great wife.” Let us go even further and say that a great tea makes a great individual; and, with practice, a great individual will make great tea. Dedicating ourselves to any one thing is a practice in will and in commitment; however, when we find that one tea that gives us what we need, it makes all the difference in our lives.
Let Pu’er Tea be that one tea, for example. If one dedicates themselves purely to Pu’er tea, within that tea there are sub-categories that allow some variations in taste, feelings, and benefits. There is Ripe Pu’er (Shou Cha), Raw Pu’er (Sheng Cha), and Aged Raw Pu’er (Lao Sheng Cha); and, even further, there is Spring and Autumn Raw Pu’er as well that have very different tastes and effects. If one wants to really connect with their tea(s), one should learn them and sit with them extensively. In order to truly understand anything, we must become obsessed with it.
Think of it as feeding a newborn. When introducing new foods to an infant, one new food is introduced every couple of weeks so that the parent may watch the child and see how the food does or does not affect the child. Does it make them hyper? Does it calm them? Does it make their stomach hurt? Ah, let us be the same with our teas. Let, “Food be thy Medicine” as Hypocrites so famously said, and let us know our teas like we know the medicines in our medicine cabinet. Let us reach for this tea if we want to feel this way and reach for that tea if we want to feel that way. As we sit quietly with a tea, we will learn how that tea affects us and when we would want to “use” this tea. All this in search for narrowing down our Top 20 teas to our Top One.
Now, of course, this can merely be an exercise, but let us really learn our teas in order to completely know them. Some tea shops have the habit of carrying hundreds of teas but never really knowing them; whereas, others have dedicated themselves to specializing in one region of teas (i.e. Chinese teas, or Indian teas). Through focusing on minimizing the quantity of things in our life, we are giving and providing better quality to the things we have in our lives. Rather than being consumers of so much, let us learn to embrace the beauty in so little. Through this, we are sure to find peace in the simplicity. Through this, we are sure to find the Way of Tea.
Nicholas Lozito continues his search for the ONE at Misty Peak Teas.