Your tea ceremony


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Your tea ceremony

Postby Lerxst2112 » Jul 9th, '12, 21:39

Whilst reading Matt's new (and outstanding!) post http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/drinking-loose-korean-green-tea-as.html a question popped into my head:

How do you go about your tea session? I'm not talking about brewing at work, I'm talking about you taking time for yourself. Are you reflective? Do you meditate? Do you have specific techniques? (for example, Matt mentioned pouring of water in a spiral going from center to outside)
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby Poohblah » Jul 9th, '12, 23:49

My meditative tea "ceremony" involves going to the climbing gym and contemplating the wall for a few hours until my body gives out. In staring at cliffs, Bodhidharma lasted longer than me; at least I get to keep my eyelids.

Tea ceremonies are rooted in meditative Buddhist traditions, which is why tea spread throughout east Asia along with the dissemination of Buddhism. Tea was important to Buddhism originally because the caffeine helped keep monks awake through long meditation sessions. Today tea's role is mainly ceremonial.

Consequently, "true" or "authentic" tea ceremonies are almost always Buddhist in nature, like the Korean ceremony described in MattCha's blog. Any other personal "ceremony" that you or I might practice is just a personal habit, and not really a ceremony. That's not to diminish the importance of tea in our lives. It's just a matter of semantics. "Tea ceremony" refers to traditions like chado or the aforementioned Korean version; the tea time that we take for ourselves probably should be called by a different term.

There was a discussion a while back on the topic of whether the Chinese practice of gongfu brewing should be called a "Chinese tea ceremony". I took the stance that this phrase is misleading, since gongfu brewing is not related to the Japanese tea ceremony, and since gongfu is not an institutionalized practice like other ceremonial tea practices.

(also, that Korean method of brewing tea is really interesting! I wonder why it's not better documented or more widely practiced, and I would love to give it a try.)
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby Lerxst2112 » Jul 10th, '12, 14:32

Poohblah wrote: Any other personal "ceremony" that you or I might practice is just a personal habit, and not really a ceremony.


Quite so. I hesitated putting 'ceremony' in the title for that reason, but figured that the main point would get across. Perhaps it should just be left as 'session'.

Solitary sessions (when not formally reviewing) are for me focused either on relaxation or honor - sometimes both. Though nowhere near a traditional ceremony, and certainly nothing like Matt performed, it's good for introspection, balance, and calm. Sometimes someone will pop into my mind (hence honor) and I will drink with either positive thoughts and energy in mind if living, or, reflection if passed. Call me wacky...
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby sriracha » Jul 10th, '12, 14:40

I just brew. With some concentration, but that's all. =)
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby BioHorn » Jul 10th, '12, 19:41

My technique usually involves tea leaf, boiling water and a brewing vessel. I just sometimes change the parameters! :)
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby hopeofdawn » Jul 12th, '12, 11:42

Snarking about the definition of a 'ceremony' aside, maybe the more accurate wording of the question should be: what are people's own personal tea rituals? I know I'd be interested in hearing more about how people brew and appreciate their tea ... (that doesn't involve standing by the sink and throwing back a quick cuppa before work, anyway! :D)
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby JBaymore » Jul 12th, '12, 13:03

Most of the time for me, the day-to-day "ritual" involved focuses mainly on the pieces of teaware that I am going to use. As a potter and someone with many Japanese and western potter friends, I am fortunate to have an extensive collection of possible pieces from which to chose. I match the pieces to the "mood of the day", so to speak. It is fun contemplating this. ("Who will I visit with today?")

Secondarily, I spend some time deciding on the particular tea that I want to have. About 98 percent of the time it is Japanese greens....... but I usually have a number of them around to choose from ranging from really good loose ones I pick up while in Japan or down to < "horrors" > a green tea in a BAG placed oh-so-respectfully in an American Chawan (mug)!!!!! (Yes.. I admitted it! :lol: )

When I do matcha for me by myself alone it almost always involves using the washitsu heya I have in my home. It is a soothing quiet place. This is when I have to time to take to really enjoy the smell, taste, sounds, and so on.

Sometimes I will invite someone over for tea and then the full blown set of Chanoyu stuff from furo and chagama to flowers and scroll is set up in the converted chashitsu (room can be slighly altrered). But this is by no means "day-to-day".

best,

...............john
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby tenuki » Jul 12th, '12, 13:21

I just try to be fully present and focused on the tea.
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby Poohblah » Jul 12th, '12, 17:06

hopeofdawn wrote:Snarking about the definition of a 'ceremony' aside, maybe the more accurate wording of the question should be: what are people's own personal tea rituals? I know I'd be interested in hearing more about how people brew and appreciate their tea ... (that doesn't involve standing by the sink and throwing back a quick cuppa before work, anyway! :D)

Usually for me this involves finding a quiet place - either going outdoors or else going into my bedroom and shutting the door - maybe putting on a little music, then eating a little snack, like fruit or some other sweet treat, then turning on the kettle, and finally sitting while thinking about nothing but tea for fifteen minutes to an hour. I don't have time to do this every day. Everyday tea for me is more like a cuppa with breakfast or dinner. I have a big bag of dianhong for this purpose. I think I'll change to a different tea soon, because I'm starting to get tired of the dianhong. It used to be mate, then dianhong, then oriental beauty, now dianhong again. I think I'll go back to mate because I miss that stuff, even though it's not c. sinensis.
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby BioHorn » Jul 12th, '12, 19:31

hopeofdawn wrote:Snarking about the definition of a 'ceremony' aside, maybe the more accurate wording of the question should be: what are people's own personal tea rituals? I know I'd be interested in hearing more about how people brew and appreciate their tea ... (that doesn't involve standing by the sink and throwing back a quick cuppa before work, anyway! :D)

Okay. That sounds sounds reasonable.

Tea in our household is a family event. On a good day we have 1-2 hours and enjoy 2-3 teas. Many times it means cycling through leftovers. My wife does not really like pu. She will have her coffee or I will make an oolong to her liking. My son will drink anything I put in front of him! Thanks to the wonderful people and resources here on teachat we have traveled a long and winding road over the years. Looking back it seems significant, looking forward they are really overshadowed by the juggernaut of complexity that is tea!

We usually use a tetsubin. It has made one of the biggest changes to our tea drinking. I like the way the water is rounded and kept particularly warm. It is nice to see the kettle changing over the years. Every couple of weeks friends will come over. It is always interesting to see how first timers react to drinking this sort of tea. Many foreign friends relate childhood stories and or comparisons to flavors they know from their country of origin brought up by the aromas in the teas.

Our table is simple. In additon to our tea tray and porcelain, it usually holds a numer of Legos. We rarely play music. I do like to clear the dirty dishes before brewing!

Maybe this is an inane post...
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby rdl » Jul 12th, '12, 23:42

BioHorn wrote:Maybe this is an inane post...

not at all - enjoyable to read.
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby Lerxst2112 » Jul 13th, '12, 20:30

hopeofdawn wrote: I know I'd be interested in hearing more about how people brew and appreciate their tea ...


Thanks, Hope of Dawn - this is exactly what I was looking for. =)

More I think about it, the more I agree with you and Debunix - 'ceremony' was a poor choice of words. Insofar as how I brew; it varies. At work, I brew in a gaiwan, and just pour right into my coffee cup. That continues until my cup is full - usually oolong or Hongcha.

At home, for a solo brew that doesn't involve a review, the main focus is relaxation, introspection, and balance. I brew predominantly gongfu style - mostly Chinese greens and oolong, with the occasional Shu-puerh.
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby BioHorn » Jul 13th, '12, 23:30

rdl wrote:
BioHorn wrote:Maybe this is an inane post...

not at all - enjoyable to read.

Thanks, rdl.
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Re: Your tea ceremony

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 23rd, '12, 23:27

tenuki wrote:I just try to be fully present and focused on the tea.


In an nutshell. I also try to use tea as a time to clear my mind at times, and to instrospect at other times. I also enjoy ceremony with friends.
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