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The most common misconception about tea

 

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One of my favorite tisanes, le forget-me-not

Most people think tea is simply a cup of warm water infused with any herb and/or plant. But really, any “tea” made from plants other than Camellia sinensis is formally referred as tisane.

I recently had an interesting conversation with a fellow tea lover. He pointed out that those who loved their first sip of “true tea” don’t usually stray away too far from the tender leaf, but those who particular enjoy the occasional tisane tend to move from one plant to another, depending on what’s ailing them. No one herbal remedy is better than the other, as I deem everything from Mother Nature good for the soul and therefore, good for the overall wellbeing of the person. So putting aside tea in the strict sense, I feel that the definition of the beverage can be very unique, especially if you attach it according to each person’s character traits, attributes, and preferences.

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For me, tea is a warm hug that reminds me the simple joys of life as much as it attends to whatever’s ailing me. The youngest, gentlest buds of white teas are my particular favorite, especially when it has grassy undertones and hints of stonefruit to finish. Light, silky, mellow, calming and deeply healing, as if you’re inhaling the first blooms of spring :)

Doesn’t matter if you’re a tea-holic or the tisane sipper – what is your definition of tea?

 
 
 


Stace

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Tea with Jesus: Pondering for the new year

 

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© tinylittletea

In order to be sent, I need a pre-sent.

You are the present. Just that you came not just for me, but for the love of the whole wide world.

I thank the Father for whoever created Bahasa Indonesia, because “thank you” in the language is “terima kasih”, which literally means “receiving love”. I have been receiving love since March 2013, and since then I’m forever thankful for your grace.

Terima kasih once more, as I shall continue living in your presence for the year to come, the year after that, and on and on … until I’m delivered.


 
 

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Tea and company

 

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Our rowdy coffee and tea tasting experience during an agro-tour in Ubud, Bali, a while ago.

Don’t know about you, but I grew up preferring having my cup of tea alone. Warm matcha with dark chocolate bits have been my most loyal and trustworthy companion ever since my high school days, to soothe me in the late afternoons of crying over boys and lift me up during the boring bits of trashy novels. Throughout those years I’ve grown this intimate relationship with the entire process of preparing tea. So to say the beverage is a non-living thing is almost a sin. Much more than it is a beverage to be drunk, it’s a sensation to be felt, and nothing else in the world can compare to experiencing tea at its essence.

Of the many factors that affect the volatile essence (and consequently taste) of tea, the presence of company is one that fascinates me the most. Two commentaries from the wide array of tea books published during the Ming Dynasty 明朝 took note of this almost sacred solitary act of brewing and steeping tea, both mentioned in Chapter 4, ‘The Taste of Tea’, of Warren Peltier’s The Ancient Art of Tea: Wisdom From the Old Chinese Tea Masters. Calligrapher-painter Chen Ji Ru 陈继儒 described in his Majestic Affairs on Cliff Couch:

In tasting tea, one person can taste tea’s essence;
two people can taste tea’s delight;
three people can taste tea’s flavor;
but six or seven people together can only be called
using (drinking) tea.

Scholar Zhang Yuan 张源 further elaborated on this commentary in Record of Tea later on, stating:

Drinking tea is most valued when there are few guests;
where there is a multitude of people there is clamor;
when there is clamor tasteful interest is lacking!
Solitary sipping is called peaceful;
two guests are called elegant;
three to four people are called a delight;
five to six people are called common;
seven to eight people are called depraved.

I find these commentaries to be very true – even three is sometimes a crowd when it comes to tea, as if with every additional company, its full flavor, color, and aroma gets diluted. Over my lifetime, the people I’ve met are mostly coffee lovers over tea, roughly on a ratio of 5:1. That’s why when I do come across the tea-loving minority, I always feel like I just met another soul mate. It’s not that tea lovers are rare, considering it’s the second most consumed beverage after water. Just that from what I observed, tea lovers are often simply seeking some grounding in this caffeine-dependent world, savoring their sipping time now more than ever as it seems increasingly harder to stay afloat.

There is healing when you listen to waters ripple as they flow to your teacup; there is pleasure even just watching the tea leaves expand during steeping. But as I grow older, I found that the best tea experience is when you’re having the jade nectar with your favorite tea-loving friend, sharing the most precious and memorable conversations over a leisurely cup of delight.

How about you? Do you enjoy tea more during your private hours or with a friend?

 
 
 


Stace

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Tea time talk: If you have a friend who treats you the way you treat yourself, how long do you want to keep them as your friend?


 

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Since we’re on friendship (and relationships in general) recently, I’ve been haunted by this question a lot for the past couple of weeks:


If you have a friend
who treats you the way
you treat yourself, 
how long do you want to
keep them as your friend?


My not-so-short answer: Probably not longer than a year. I have a running habit of hurting myself as a coping and/or defense mechanism, and if there’s nothing external that’s hurting me, it’s as if I’m actively and constantly seeking ways to hurt myself and consequently, hurt others. So, anyone who comes close to me will most likely get hurt, discouraged, and disappointed along the way. So I always back out of a potential friendship to prevent her from getting hurt. Despite it all, there are people I will never understand who actually want to go through all the pain …

Before I got to know Jesus Christ, I’ve always thought friendships just happen. If you hit it off during the first conversations then you’re good, but if not, you’re probably just not meant to be. The closest friends I have today are friendships that develop almost immediately after we met, including my own husband. Now, I realized that all relationships take active nurturing. With some you can click instantly, with others, it’s like growing a garden. And so I’ve grown to replace my constant hurting to constant tending of my thorns, mainly for these people who have decided to persist in my life.

I know this is a tough question … but give it time to seep in your mind: How are you going to change the way you talk to yourself today?

Of course, after my answer to this question, I don’t expect you to enlist me as your BFF :s But I do want to hear your thoughts.

 
 
 


Stace

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via Wulan on Pinterest


 
 

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If you only try one restaurant in Bali, make it this one.

 


Disclaimer: This is my review of the food served during my visit. Keep in mind that taste may change over time, depending on the restaurant’s consistency. Just keep munching~

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