The appreciation of nature and our intimate connection is easily visible through an understanding of the essence of tea.
With a single plant, innumerable varieties of sustaining, stimulating infusions have been created over the centuries. The tea we drink today is the result of an ongoing interdependent co-creation between the tea plant and the human beings who cultivate it. In relation to landscape, weather and climate each harvest differs from the last. Keeping the tea experience the same for the end-user, no matter what the annual conditions, is a fine art. It is an art that includes the variations of influence much like wine. And with tea the variations within each batch reveal the intimacy between the grower and plant, along with the conditions of preparation.
The perfume industry created stable artificial molecules at the turn of the last century, so as to offer their clients the exact same scent without the instability of the natural molecules. Tea does the opposite, celebrating this natural instability. Uncontrollable, as nature is uncontrollable. What is stable one year is not so the next. Yet the game is to create recognizable and unchanging teas.
Because it is perishable, in many cases tea is to be enjoyed within a limited time frame, closest to its time of harvest. The tea drinker participates in the compression of conditions expressed by the leaves as recorders of that growing season.
One leaf infused in a cup of boiling water unfolds and expresses just this – and it is an exquisite Gaian technology born of the relationship between humans and plants. A microcosm.
A sip of tea is a sip of this natural information, once stored, now revealed by infusion. Where the leaf grew on the plant, soil, harvest, how the leaf is treated after picking, all innumerable arts of tea. Then the preparation of the drink itself, with its own variables of water type, temperature, pot and cup. Time of day, time of year, place: a variable environment of location, season, weather and time. Coming to the tea drinker – with emotional variables in play also, ready to match the infinite variety of natural information the infused leaf brings in.
I am amazed!
My new tea blog is now up and running! I was going to keep the whole topic of tea as part of my personal blog here, but it seemed like it wanted to stand on its own. Obsessing me. Only those of you who have got into tea will understand what I mean by that.
So now, documenting my adventures with tea in Vancouver, is my new and quirky blog called Cha-Cha-Cha. If you have any tea loves, tea dislikes, tips, tricks, comments, oddities, you name it, please join me for tea at Cha-Cha-Cha (http://teavancouver.com) and add your news and views.
What I’ve discovered so far is that tea opens to the world. Based in Vancouver, I open to the whole world by looking to the culture of tea. This is a world of past and present, with histories both personal and global, both implied and explicit.
Becoming a tea-lover, tea-freak, tea-lady, tea-connoisseur, you name it – I’m suddenly fascinated by all things tea. At first I thought I should have a tea blog, then decided to just include it in this blog along with all my other fascinations. But if you like tea too, then by all means let me know what you love, why you love it, how you brew it, how you do it.
As I dash this off, I’m sipping Mighty Leaf Organic Breakfast tea – they call it ” a robust wide-awake blend of English Breakfast black teas.” I don’t know if it is that robust, actually, but I do love it – and I also appreciate their delicate fabric teabags.
Another favourite of mine, and I know this sounds very anti-elitist, is Kirkland green tea. Yes, Kirkland green tea with matcha, in tea bags from Costco. It has exactly the right combination and zap. I love it, especially at around 3 in the afternoon. Just what the doctor ordered! Clarity of mind? Absolutely. Delicious? Oh yes! But then, I may as yet have an undeveloped palate. For all I know, this Costco green tea might be dreck, even though I enjoy it.
That’s it for the day’s tea report, with this one exception: I met an old friend for tea on the weekend. We went to the beautiful Farfalla, here in Vancouver, and had some exquisite French Earl Grey tea. We’d almost selected a smoky Earl Grey, but once we caught its scent, we knew that it would be too campfire-tasting for us, and went instead for the floral Earl Grey. I know we weren’t supposed to have it with milk, but they gave it to us anyways. Delight!
And for fun, here’s another BFI video, this one on how to make the perfect cup of tea (in 1941, that is!)
Saturday afternoon, continuous misty rain.
This month has been a whirlwind of transformative experiences: don’t get me started. I’ll just focus on the first thoughts at hand, today, now, at this time.
Open Source Spirit.org has finally got started in earnest, with lots of interviews and posting. In this past month I’ve also got a client’s new site up and running, and helped them set up some initial social media presence, too.
Devendra Banhart is playing now as I sip French Rose tea. I’m wondering what to do about some old blogs that I had started and have now left behind. I need to bring these orphans in out of the cold. But for now, I’ll write up this moment.
The forced narcissus are starting, just, to bloom. I’m enjoying reading Malevich and Film, just finished Powe’s Mystic Trudeau.
I’m reminded that some of the Warhol Screen tests will be shown here next year (PUSH festival) Must remember to get the tix before the last minute and they’re sold out! When will these Screen Tests be put out on DVD so I can have them in my collection?
About Teatime: cup from NOOD (on sale), oakleaf teapot (made in Italy) was a gift, loose tea from Granville Island Tea Company, the cup with the tea: a few tea leaves, a little milk.
I realized this morning that the mind, my brain I mean, seeks deep image satisfaction.
I had a big dose of it this morning, making images to (maybe) use in a video to introduce OpenSourceSpirit.org. Here’s a little of what I was doing: