Some days ago I had lunch with a friend. After dessert, they asked us if we wanted some coffee. I passed on the offer as I don’t like coffee. My friend, who is a perceptive person, nudge me to get tea. I decline with a smile. He knows I’m a big tea drinker and was teasing me.
While we kept on talking, he paused to sip his coffee, put it down, pushed it away and told me how bad it was. I had to chuckle. He looked at me, and he asked me how I did it. How I got around when most tea restaurants offer is, well, not the most pleasurable tea.
A big smile sprang in my face. This question has been in my mind for some time now. The conversation reminded me of a tea saying:
“When learning: observe
To speak of “right” & “wrong”
In a place of learning
- Takeno Jōō
There is a big difference between tea tasting and tea as a lifestyle. I don’t drink tea just because I like its taste and aroma. I drink tea because it resonates with the Dao, the Way. I am, but a lowly student of the Dao and tea is my teacher.
That’s why, when someone offers me tea, I’ll take whatever they can provide. It’s not about the taste, but about the spirit of the offering. Every interaction with someone is special and unique.
As of lately, I’ve been walking away from judging ‘good’ or ‘bad’ tea. There is no such thing. Tea is life; it’s nature. If a tea tastes bad, it’s because it was abused, not because it’s bad.
This perception makes a big difference. I will drink offered tea anywhere, as long as it’s safe for consumption (some teas are heavy with toxic agrochemicals). I don’t require high grade or expensive tea to make my life beautiful.
When someone asks me what’s my favorite tea, I always have a hard time answering. The truth is, I drink many different kinds of teas each day. I don’t pick favorites; I just let my body tell me what tea it wants to drink each day. Sometimes it’s a premium one, others it’s a very regular one.