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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Two Tea Perspectives

It is amazing how depending on who you talk to, tea can have drastically different interpretations. Culture may sway someone more towards one direction or another, but I highly suspect no matter the culture both these images of tea exist. Now I do not fault anyone for having one view or another, or some sort of hybrid of the two.

First view, tea is a beverage served hot or iced used as a caffeine boost. I highly suspect that a lot of people that are in this group also often drink coffee just for the caffeine boost. They could also be a bit more health conscious, and choose to drink tea over soda because it offers less calories, and possible benefits.

Second view is much more elaborate, and almost borders on religion. Tea is consumed for relaxation, boost in awareness, and as a method of practice towards self improvement. Bringing to mind the phrase "Zen and Tea, one taste". I often view making and drinking tea as my favorite type of meditation. It being a moment when I can focus my thoughts, slow down, and just focus on what is going on around me. I personally feel people in the second view are almost as addicted to the practice of brewing tea, as they are to the actual tea itself.

Possibly the biggest difference between the two involves the concept of Cha Qi (Cha Chi, etc..) or basically the energy of the tea. I do not want to be stereotypical, but when was the last time you heard of someone that drinks predominantly the gamut of English Brand teas, ever muse on what sort of energy the tea, and how it makes them feel besides energized and awake?

A major similarity between the two tends to be their appreciation for flavors, and different flavors. I honestly feel someone from either category has no problem buying high end teas, or many different types of teas in search for flavor variety. In my opinion people who view tea closer to the second view, are more traditional. By that I mean their tea's flavor only comes from the leaf, and its processing, and possible natural scenting or very slight blending with other herbs or flowers. I say that because I do not know many people that would fall close to the second view point, that are constantly drinking teas with bits of dried fruits and candies mixed in.

Now I do not claim one view is better than the other, and the fact that tea so easily accommodates these two vastly different views, is what makes it such a universal beverage. That, and regardless of your view point tea drinkers seem to be united by the fact that they drink tea, and the like what they drink, and will drink what they like.

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