Let me tell you the story of how I fell in love with tea ceremonies…
I am a huge fan of all things Sherlock Holmes related, especially the series. That being said, the first few minutes from the episode “The Blind Banker” made a huge impression on me. In this episode, a Chinese woman working in a museum was looking after some antique tea accessories and making sure they retain their appearance by putting them to use and in contact with hot water. What intrigued me was how the ritual looked, mostly due to the careful and slow manner in which the girl was doing each of the movements.
Everything she did was filled with meaning and delicacy. I felt an urgent and inexplicable need to prepare myself some tea, but not any kind of tea and with any kind of tea accessories. I had to find the right items that will make it possible for me to perform a tea ceremony in my home. The only piece of the puzzle I already had were vintage teacups (a dear present from my aunt).
What I got first from the tea accessories I needed was the most obvious necessity – a teapot. I got a handcrafted, ceramic one with a wide mouth. Next, I got a stem tea strainer made of brass with a long handle. Then, I got myself a variety of tea leaves and decided to experiment making my own mixtures.
But none of the above-mentioned things would matter without creating the right kind of atmosphere for the ceremony… Here’s how it goes: I have to be all by myself, dressed in something comfy, I put on some soothing meditation music and most importantly, I do the opposite of what we all do during our hectic weekly work days – I go slow.
I take deep breaths and remain present during every moment. I carefully pick the right amount of leaves from the different types of herbs I want to mix, let the water boil without any rush, put the leaves in the strainer and pour the water from the teapot in the teacup while focusing on each sound.
Then, I make slow circular movements with the tea strainer filled with leaves and watch the water change its colour. I savor the sweet aroma that begins to fill the air, anticipating the flavour I’ll soon present to my taste buds. Finally, after a few minutes have passed, I drink the tea, thinking about everything I am grateful for.
If there’s only one thing you’ll take from this story, I hope that will be the desire to take some time for yourself and do something you enjoy, but do it fully, without distractions or rushing.