Tea Writings

A blog about tea from the desk of Cecilia Tan
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Tea-Drinking Weather

June 29, 2009 By: ctan Category: Tea Musings

The main consequence of the fact that it has been rainy and cold for the entire month of June is that I have continued to drink hot tea far into the season when I would have normally switched to iced.

This is good! It means not only no summer hiatus for Tea Writings (not that I was sure there would be one…), I have kept up my routine of taking breaks from writing and work to brew new pots multiple times per day.

I have never been good at just sitting and meditating. What? Just sit and try to think about nothing? I have always been better at reaching a meditative state through motion or music or something else where you distract the brain from thinking and only later when you “come to” do you realize you’d gone into a meditative state. Practicing martial arts, for example. At some point your mind has to get out of your way for you to really excel at it. Consciousness expands to include everyone in the room, maybe everyone in the building. This happens not through sitting still, but through doing focused motions.

Making a pot of tea can be like that, if I let myself be mindful. If I am not focused, I get the order of the steps wrong. The water boils before I have picked out a tea. I rinse out the pot with hot water but I forget to rinse the loose leaves. I measure the leaves but haven’t put the basket in the pot yet. And so on. It’s often like that first thing in the morning when my brain is still trying to shake off the effects of the allergy medicine I took the night before.

But once I’m actually awake, it’s a nice break to go every hour or two, out of my office and down to the kitchen, which overlooks the cool green summer shade of my back garden, and brew a pot.

I’m not always mindful while making tea, of course. Sometimes I’m checking my Twitter feed on my iPhone with one hand while I empty the dishwasher with the other, while waiting for the boil or the steep. But at least I have the chance to step away from the computer a few times a day.

Today I am finishing up the very last of the Stash brand “Light Fragrant Ti Kuan Yin” that I got for Christmas two and a half year ago. Honestly, over the two years it has lost some of its flavor, but I never should have taken so long to drink it. The container got buried under some others, and then it was superseded by newer, fancier Iron Goddess purchases from Aroma Tea Shop in San Fran and elsewhere, like the packet I brought back from China itself, which I used up immediately.

Which raises the question of what to do with the teas that have lost their luster in the back of the cabinet? I’m far too frugal to contemplate throwing them away. But there are a few that just don’t have much to recommend them, now. Perhaps some of them should end up in the smoker the next time we barbecue? Your suggestions are welcome at ctan.writer at Gmail dot com, or comment below!

4 Comments to “Tea-Drinking Weather”


  1. I’ve wanted to try tea smoking but haven’t yet.

    I’ve usually found that old teas make still make decent iced tea. If they’re not flavored, they can make some interesting blends together, too.

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  2. The last time I did tea smoking was a couple of years ago when we first got the smoker grill. I am still using the tea-smoked salt we made at with that batch! (I think we were tea-smoking a duck. Seems likely. Smoked salt is easy to make, though. Just put a shallow pan of salt water in the smoker and take it out when it’s crystals…)

    Yeah, the black teas I’m likely to try as iced tea (if the weather ever gets hot enough), but not so sure about the green ones.

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  3. On the topic of tea recipes, have you seen this green tea cupcake recipe?

    http://daydreamdelicious.blogspot.com/2006/09/matcha-cupcakes.html

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  4. Ooh, no. I’ll have to have a look… Plus we have lots and lots of thai tea powder right now which could make a nice thai tea cupcake, too…

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