Tea is steeped in traditions the world over and deep into human history. I had no idea that it also has as many varieties as a wine. While tea is grown in China, Japan, India, the Middle East and even in America, each country has unique soil and climate properties which affect the flavor. A certified tea specialist knows all the details. Such is Dharlene Marie Fahl, who has spent more than a decade traveling the world to meet the people and visit the places where tea is king.
Today herbs and flavorings are labeled tea but in fact there’s only one true tea plant. Camellia sinensis is the species of plant whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce the popular beverage tea. Once imbibed only by aristocrats, kings and queens would have the leaves saved and sent to the peasants for a second brew. It’s inspired revolution in the United States when protesters dumped the precious cargo into the Boston Bay as a message that they would not pay the taxes levied by the British. Today many know the tea tradition thanks to the Masterpiece Theater television series, Downton Abbey, where dukes and duchesses share confidences while being served tea from delicate china and silver trays.
Dharlene sees the tradition as much more than slacking ones thirst. While in Japan every motion in the tea ceremony has significance, she savors tea as a simpler, personal ritual.
Hear more about Dharlene’s Tea Travels on the Gathering Road podcast
In our grab and go society it takes some planning to create the space and time to get the most out of tea.
This is no Starbucks experience. Dharlene suggests that you:
- Set aside 10 – 15 minutes in a quiet space.
- Use a special tea cup, perhaps a vintage or finely designed piece of china.
- Sit down, shut out everything else and simply be.
- Find out more in her book, Sereni-tea – Seven Tips to Bliss
“Don’t read, worry or plan, Dharlene suggests, “Just sit and reconnect with self or a greater wisdom. Be physically, emotionally, spiritually present.”
As she teaches: The tension will away with every sip and with practice your body experiences peace. You feel that something takes over and you’re in a very calm, nice place.
On your tea travels, once this personal ritual is established, the body will remember and the experience can be recreated any where. Drinking tea can be a kinetic experience, a sense memory, a trigger to tranquility.