There is something almost sacred for me when it comes to drinking a cup of tea. I disclose here that my Parisian upbringing has taught me to always look for high quality food products vs the mass market and often cheaper versions of almost everything that is eatable. Everyone of us has different tastes and habits however when it comes to hot beverages, I always drink black coffee ( without sugar or milk ) in the morning and tea ( no added sugar either ) in the afternoon. I see drinking coffee as diving into our masculine energy, dedicated to action, stamina, efficiency whereas I see drinking tea as a softer and more elegant experience.
How and when do you drink your tea (s), if you drink any ?
It can actually be fascinating to find out about the geography of tea…it allows us to connect to the world when we find out that most of them are grown in China, Japan, India and Sri Lanka. I love looking for gourmet tea, the full leaf, full body tea, either presented loose in a tea box or in bleach free cotton or silk type of tea bags. Ideally I choose my tea organic, to minimize the use of pesticides, which alter the quality and taste of the leaves. Getting a gourmet or high quality tea will cost you more than the simple tea bags sold by popular brands which mostly sell tea dust, however it is truly worth the experience. I always use filtered or mineral water and try to avoid pouring boiling water on the tea as it may burn the leaves. I let it sit in the cup for a couple of minutes before pulling out the tea out of the colored warm water.
This is such a relaxing and enjoyable experience. I usually drink tea far away from my computer or any electronic device. This is one of my favorite rituals. I also love to share it with someone who can appreciate the almost meditative experience. It allows me to reflect and relax. My favorite scented teas are green jasmine tea and another green tea called “ Thé du hammam” ( which could mean something close to The steam bath tea, referring to Turkish steam baths), which is a tea originally crafted in France by the French tea manufacturer Le Palais des thés, which is also available online. When I drink a cup of either of these teas, I try to choose a beautiful and small china cup ( please, not a large and thick American mug ! ), sit in a cozy space and allow my mind to travel… sometimes all the way to China or to the Middle East. I love smelling the delicate and subtle fragrance of jasmine tea before sipping it. It’s such a pleasurable experience.
I highly recommend purchasing jasmine tea from Rishi teas, either at your local gourmet food store or online. The US and Milwaukee-based tea importer and distributor was founded over ten years ago with the mission to bring high quality handcrafted teas following artisan practices and Fair Trade to America and the world. Jasmine tea is the only naturally scented tea that is produced in China, following a centuries-old tradition, mixing green tea leaves with freshly harvested jasmine flowers. The quality of jasmine tea lies in the quality of the tea leaves but also in the scenting process. Crafting jasmine tea seems to require much patience and skills. One can fully appreciate the subtle fragrance and taste of jasmine tea when discovering how it is made. Jasmine buds can only be handpicked in the evenings of summer in China, when the climate is warm, the dew has evaporated and the buds are about to bloom. Once they are harvested, the buds are mixed in alternative layers with the green tea leaves. When blooming, the flowers release their elegant scent onto the leaves.
Dammann Frères is another exquisite French tea merchant brand, which also sells online and at their stores. Their Jasmine green tea is delicate and fabulous too but you my prefer some of their other teas. The company history goes all the way back to 1692 when French king Louis the 14th granted a man named Sir Damame the opportunity to sell his tea in France. Once you watch the video here, telling the story of Dammann Frères, you will most probably never drink tea the same way again. You will hopefully try higher quality teas and realize that there is such a rich history of craftsmanship that surrounds it.
The Thé du hammam is a very different tea, which does not follow an ancient tradition and is obviously more of a modern and pleasurable scented tea. It is apparently inspired by a Turkish recipe, combining flavors from green date, rose, berries and orange blossom flowers. I love its aromatic and exotic flavor, which inspires me to drink it by itself , with a piece of dark chocolate or a middle eastern pastry such as a date or a walnut and pistachio baklava.
Drinking tea is a precious ritual which allows me to lean back, relax, enjoy the moment and travel for a while in the world of elegance and tradition while inspiring me to be present.
Which rituals help your body warm-up and your mind to relax and be present ?