"If you ask Zen people they will say tea is not something that you pour with unawareness and drink like any other drink. It is not a drink, it is meditation; it is prayer. So they listen to the kettle creating a melody, and in that listening they become more silent, more alert."
~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Happy glorious Saturday everyone! I hope this weekend finds you in great health and spirit like it found me. I surely enjoying sleeping in this morning, catching up on some of the lost snoozes.
Speaking of the quote above, I very much agree with Zen people. When I make tea, I love to just stand there and wait for the water to heat up and then for the tea to steep. I could do other things during this time but I don't. I usually close my eyes, watch my breath and wait for the kettle to sing. It's a mindfulness moment.
Today is Saturday so I will enjoy one of my special teas. During the school week my mornings are usually rushed and when I am rushed I don't like to try new tea. New tea deserves my full attention. I want to fully appreciate it from the moment it's taken out of the container to the very last sip. I therefore reserve weekends for new tea experiences.
Today I picked a sample sent to me by Mandala Tea House when I ordered from them last year. It's a 2011 Noble Mark Ripe Pu'erh.
Just like all ripe pu'erh tea should, the dry leaves smelled of Earth and forest. My hike in the woods has begun.
They sent me a generous sample of 14 grams so I divided it in half and steeped 7 grams of tea in 8 ounces of boiling water. The first steep took only 30 seconds.
The steeping tea aroma was that of mushrooms and wet forest floor. Oh, how much I love this scent. I stood there with my nose in the steeping tea smelling all the smell out of until I saturated my senses. It's like taking a walk in the forest after a summer pour down. You smell the mushrooms, the wet foliage, dead wood and the wet bark on the trees. You can almost hear the forest take a deep breath and soak in all the freshly fallen rain.
My walk in the woods continued once the tea was steeped and ready to drink. I poured it into a clear tea cup because I love to see the colour of the ripe pu'erh tea. It usually is dark with a reddish tint. This one was no different. Very beautiful.
The taste did not disappoint me either. The tea was smooth, full bodied and very tasty. To those that don't know what ripe pu'erh tea is about, it's like someone dropped a piece of wet wood into the teapot while the tea was steeping. There is a piece of wet forest in every sip. It's quite bizarre and wonderful at the same time. You have to try it to fully understand what I'm talking about. Ripe pu'erh tea brings out a poet in every pu'erh tea lover.
At the time of writing of this blog post I only had the first steep. After reading some reviews on the Steepster, which is an excellent social media site for tea lovers, I thought the first infusion would be too weak but it wasn't. It was just right and perfect for the morning enjoyment. I will continue steeping the leaves throughout today and I'm sure later infusions will be even darker and stronger. From the look of the short first steep, this tea has still a lot to offer.