Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Would you like a cup of tea?

"Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things."
Okakura Kakuzo Book of Tea (1906)

All my life, I had been a coffee drinker. I’d drink it by the pots, if not by the urns. I’d have an occasional cup of tea once in a while. Maybe iced tea on a hot day, but I was never really a tea drinker.

A couple of years ago, I caught a terrible flu. I lost close to 15 lbs. I also largely broke the habit of drinking coffee. While I was sick, it was really unappealing to me, and I simply got out of the habit of drinking so much of it. I came around to liking the taste of tea.

It was around that same time, when I was developing a taste for tea, that some martial arts friends of mine had turned to tea, and I was exposed to some good teas, as opposed to the ubiquitous Lipton Brisk, which is a barely digestible mixture of some red and black teas.

I’ve tasted some various teas, and developed some taste. I still drink coffee first thing in the morning to get me going, but the morning tea I like the best is Oolong. It goes well with a bagel. It has a heavier taste, in the direction of coffee, but not so extreme. The aroma is pleasing too.

In the afternoon, I like a nice green tea. Green tea has a very clean taste. After lunch, I feel that a cup of green tea cleanses any aftertaste from whatever I’ve eaten. I still have the caffeine effect in that it helps me stay alert in the afternoon, but without the coffee jitters.

I’m continuing to learn more, try different teas, and just follow my tastes.

A book on tea for beginners, that is really beautifully laid out is The Way of Tea by Lam Kam Chuen ( ) .

For very good tea, accessories, etc, try


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