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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reflecting on tea and paying it respect

I have been having a heck of a lot of tea lately, and while I have been incredibly enjoying it, the other day I had a flash back to some of my very favorite cups of tea very early on in my tea years.  These are the cups of tea that made me realize how much I enjoyed tea.

One that sticks out the most, was my freshman year of college, and considering someone who love teaware as much as I do now, it actually quite amazes me, but this was an Assam black (red) tea brewed in a fill your own teabag, brewed with water heated in a microwave, in a paper coffee cup. But when you can make tea in a humble fashion, and years later when you have had countless sessions of tea and spent small fortunes on teaware and tea, and in retrospect a simple one is one of your favorites, it shows a true love of the leaf.

At the same time, that love of the leaf is what has pushed me to keep on learning about tea, keep on trying new teas, and keep exploring ways I could improve the brews, either through specialized teaware, or through trying make the tea sessions more aesthetically pleasing.  It's something nearly all tea drinkers do eventually, try and spice up their sessions with new or more interesting teaware, or seek out that perfect teapot, perfect kettle, or ideal water to make just that much of a difference.

Some like to say its a bunch of diminishing returns, and in certain respects it is, because for those of us that love  tea know all you really need is leaves, water, and a simple bowl.  Even though I love ceramics, when I use them with tea, I do it to honor the tea. Just like someone wouldn't buy an original van Gogh then display it in a basement crawlspace with no supply of light, sometimes when you have something you respect, you want to showcase it out of respect for its creator, its history, and its merits.
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