Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tea and Time

Tea and time have something in common. They both begin with letter "T". There is a reason for that. Under that commonality also lies a lesson of life.
To enjoy tea, we need to take time.
Tea is no longer mere leaves but a form of art from beautiful hands. After the leaves are dried, they hand roll them to form a certain shape and sort them out at the end. Imagine how those beautiful girls and ladies pluck the leaves in a sunny spring morning. The majority of the workers in a tea garden are women.

The shapes are typically from the delicate hand rolling. Leaves from different types of tea come in different shapes, texture and colors. First of all, even before the steeping starts, we observe the tea leaves.
Second, you pour hot water into the cup. You don't just sit and wait (and getting bored and even impatient). Watch the leaves unfold and dance up and down slowly. This "agony of the leaves" is necessary for the flavors and nutrients to be released.
The timing depends on our individual preference in taste. Not too long, not too short. Steeping is also about timing.
Finally, we don't gulp a cup of tea as we do with a can of soda. We sip. Before we sip, we observe the color and the uprising mist of the liquid. We smell the aroma. These are all part of enjoyment of tea.
It all takes time. All the good things in life take time to brew and to enjoy.
Time is the most precious thing. It is also most constant thing as well. We can't get more of it by rushing it. We could potentially lose it if we rush - not only time but also all the great things in life that must be enjoyed with and over time.
A Chinese proverb says it all, "Hurry and impatience prevents the enjoyment of hot tofu."
You may ask, what about the need for speed and convenience?
The faster pace of living demands speed and convenience. Fast foods have become a part of our diet in the past decades as more and more families have two working parents and more and more families have two working parents and more and more families have two working parents and more and more people are into sports, travel and adventures. Mankind invented automobiles, aircrafts and spacecrafts to move from A to B faster. They are the propellers of civilization and evolution from nomadic to agriculture to industrial society.

Yes, they are some times our friends.
Our physical and psychological well being does not improve even though economically we are better off. More people and families are suffering from stresses of all kinds. Recent years have seen increased health problems such as obesity and cancer.

Overdose of speed and convenience can and have already hurt our quality of life. But there is a limit.
Tea can help in many ways with its powerful healing power and the lesson it teaches us about time and timing. It may be time to slow down a little bit and to get back to the basic of life.
Jay is the owner of - an online tea store that focuses on tea knowledge, news and education in addition to providing quality fresh teas from Taimu Mountain and its surrounding areas in Fujian province of China.


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