I was reflecting on this earlier in the week when a coworker asked me why I'm so seemingly obsessed with tea to the point of designating tea time during the work day (not to mention all of the teaware that he has to sign for that arrives at my workplace )
One year ago, my tea time was instead replaced with a mid-afternoon boost of espresso. I had brought a few teas and a modest yixing pot back from a trip to Taiwan, but after a few bad brewing sessions caused by inexperience, I put my tea wares aside seemingly for good. My alternative was an espresso break that mirrored my mental state- fast paced, constantly worrying about my productivity, without a chance to really take a break. I often felt ragged at the end of the day, which only fueled my need for caffeine more.
Serendipitously, I tried making tea one late night in my pot half-filled with dry leaf and had my first really great tea session. I found that by going through the gong-fu "ceremony" helped to focus my scattered energy by making me truly mindful of my surroundings, using my senses cooperatively to brew tea in a very natural, organic sort of way- by tasting and adjusting and experimenting. It was such a helpful ritual for me, and with such a refreshing reward for the senses, that it naturally integrated into my daily schedule.
Since then, I have only been learning more about tea to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, but at the core of it tea is an opportunity to focus myself and be truly mindful of the space around me. While the Tea-o-sphere is a big place with many nooks and crannies for me to explore, I can only foresee my passion growing until the fateful day I quit my job to become a tea scholar (mostly kidding).