Ritual tea drinking originated in China thousands of years ago, taking root in Japan and other parts of East Asia in the 13th Century. The traditional tea ceremony enhances a feeling of calm and renewal for those involved whilst also invigorating the senses. Indeed, it is this very effect that led Buddhist Monks to drink tea to support themselves and stay awake during very long periods of meditation.
Today, we continue to drink tea in abundance and yet we tend to ignore the opportunity to pause and reflect in stillness that tea invites. The ritualistic experience that a traditional tea ceremony has to offer extends beyond the benefits of the tea itself; it gives us the chance to check-in and show up for ourselves, stepping into the present moment.
From the space where the ceremony is conducted to the vessels that it is served with: each element is infused with intention; chosen so as to reinforce a sense of peace and serenity. The relationship between the tea drinker and the functional objects used to drink it is an evolving one: the more these everyday objects are used, the more beautiful they become. There is an elegance and humility in the modest form that traditional tea vessels take – a true embodiment of the beauty of simplicity.
I’ve learned a lot about teas and their impact on our bodies through travel. I love the care and the ritual that surrounds the making of tea in Japan. Like their approach to cooking there’s such a profound respect for the ingredient.