The Pleasure of Drinking Tea

It has been a few weeks since I met a friend for tea at my favorite “tea lounge”. At each visit I used to drink the same teas until about a year ago, when I decided to choose a different tea each time. The menu is incredibly long and filled with names like Green Ecstasy, Ocean of Wisdom, or Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Mercy. It will take me while to get through most of the teas and some are so delicious I often take some home. I have come to realize that it is an art to prepare a tea to its perfection and to be able to bring forth the hidden delights. Last time I had their special, a black Korean tea, that was out of this world with its intense chocolate aroma transcending the smell and taste. I slowly lingered over this sumptuous brew while devouring my Jook dish over an equally relaxing but rich conversation with my friend. Rain or shine we easily can spend hours diving into life’s adventures over a few cups of tea. Somehow a cup of tea, whether it is at my favorite “tea lounge” or at home, slows down the flow of time and with an ease creates a connection to the present moment. Other times the atmosphere surrounding a delightful tea complements quiet evenings when I read a good book or muse over some poetic writing.

Over the years I introduced several friends to this place and each one loves to come back to the exquisite pleasure of drinking tea prepared with care. It has become a ritual with most of my friends that we almost always drink tea when we meet and allow ourselves to get lost in time for a a while. Then it is as if the time stands still until we return to our routine rhythms. My husband spent some time in France during his twenties, and since then he admires the French eating culture for being so sensual and bringing one’s taste buds alive. I know very few people beside him and a few friends from France, who are able to enjoy food on such a grand scale. When we open ourselves to the pleasure of food our taste buds dance to the tune of the various flavors. In order to do that we have to slow down and for a moment allow ourselves to forget the notion of time. Sharing elements of delight, the culture of drinking tea is a ritual that also invites us to relax and enjoy our senses with friends or in solitude away from the stimulation of electronic gadgets and information overload. In essence it allows us to connect to the simple but grand pleasures of life that are priceless.

When was the last time you slowed down over a cup of tea?

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. ~Thich Nat Hahn

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