Tea is my favourite drink, more than a drink really it is an experience.
Brewing my first huge cup of chai in the morning (#chandernagor), enjoying a smoked lapsang souchong in the afternoon or a genmaicha with a friend always makes me feel better and more centered.
I get my morning Chandernagor tea from a little shop in Milano: I normally buy one kilo and it lasts for a couple months (yes, I drink a lot of it!) and now that I moved to the UK I have to be even more organized with my “doses” as they don’t ship outside of Italy.
The simple act of boiling the water, simmering the mixture of spices and black tea for two minutes, then adding milk and boiling for another two minutes, leaving the aromas develop and fill the air for two more minutes, then filtering and drinking slowly. I don’t like my morning chai too sweet, I don’t like it sweet at all while I know the real chai is made with lots of sugar that adds to its flavour.
It is a ritual, one that prepares me for a long day and sets the tone for the rest of the morning, no matter what is in my to-do list. Any ritual per se is grounding and soothing, reassuring to some extent on the fact that everything is going to be alright, giving back some sort of control over the external environment and calming the mind. When it involves tea, spices and beautiful vessels it also brings back many lovely memories like this exquisite cup bought in Japan at Gorakadan Onsen.
That must be the reason why so many cultures use tea and coffee as “mindful” moments, although it would be more correct to say mind-empty moments, since the focus on the preparation, and all the senses involved mean that there is very little mind and rationale going on, and a lot of instinctive repetitive and tasteful no-mind at work here.