Morning Tea Ritual
First Things First: Start Your Day With Tea
By Martha Gavinksi
Market Manager – Seattle
During these uncertain times, our sense of routine has been completely upended. While the rhythms of daily life have changed, there’s still an intrinsic comfort in taking part in daily rituals. They not only provide us with structure and stability but remind us of who we are and what we value most. This sense of intention is exactly why we refer to our tea practice– it is something both constantly evolving and embedded in our day-to-day lives.
Our rituals begin as soon as we wake up– they’re our morning stretches, quick meditations, and preparation to face the day. With disruption in our schedules, there’s an opportunity to create new, powerful tea practices to increase mindfulness and positive well-being. This is where Gongfu Cha (literally, “Kung Fu Tea”) can come into play. By honoring the focus and skill required to brew Gongfu Cha artfully in vessels such as a gaiwan, kyusu, or porcelain teapot, we are sharpening our command on tea brewing and connecting more closely with the tea itself. Learn more about Gongfu Cha in depth here.
If we’re sharing space with someone, our morning practice can also be an act of kinship. It offers not just the gift of tea itself but the crafting of a shared tea experience. In traditional Japanese tea ceremony, the host takes incredible care in every detail of the service, allowing each guest a precious moment with tea. This experience anchors each guest– both environmentally and with each other. Whatever our level of formality and Gongfu skill, the opportunity to prepare tea for someone is a social unifier, a kind gesture supported by thousands of years of tradition woven into a daily routine.
So, what teas are best for a morning practice? There isn’t a single, one-size-fits-all answer. The tea we choose is deeply personal, guided by the seasons, our taste, and sensibility. That said, we are grateful to have a variety of options to inspire and expand your palate.
Genmaicha is a traditional Japanese breakfast tea. It originated centuries ago when Buddhist monks mixed green tea with browned rice stuck to the bottom of their rice cauldrons in a gesture of humility and conservation. Today, the harmony of nutty roasted sticky rice with bright, fresh green tea offers a balanced cup and light, enlivening energy.
Traditional Tea Properties and Applications
Traditionally, certain teas and ingredients are associated with different warming and cooling energies. Following the basic principals of yin and yang, we seek out teas that help balance our energy and honor the current season. Green, white, and young sheng Pu’er teas are historically associated with cooling yin energy, providing a perfect balance to summer heat.
Part of our Garden Direct line, Koga Gyokuro, evokes the classic character of the Yame region. In this selection, we taste the fresh mountain aroma as well as a unique salinity and hints of pine resin. Starting the day with a bright green tea is an excellent way to invite in brimming energy and a healthful mindset.
Widely esteemed for its delicate appearance, elegant sweetness, and noble character, Silver Needles is comprised of individually plucked tea buds harvested in the early Springtime. As a “patient tea,” you can steep Silver Needle multiple times throughout the day and experience the diversity in of each infusion
Conversely, black, deeply oxidized oolong, and shu Pu’er teas are tied to warming yang energy– why we tend to reach for comforting chai or Earl Grey during colder weather. When selecting the first tea of the day, consider the environment and check in with your senses to see where you can find balance.
In our Tulsi Chai, invigorating black Darjeeling tea offers a strong base to this tea botanical blend. The addition of Tulsi– renowned for its calming effect and support in cognitive and memory enhancement– sets the tone for a productive day..
A traditional style shu Pu’er that offers an impressive, warming robust infusion credited to vintages ranging from 2-4 years in age. Like the Silver Needle, Tuo Cha can be steeped multiple times, unlocking a new cup each time
As Selectors, Importers, and Makers we would be remiss if we didn’t spotlight some of our favorite tea-infused recipes to complement your morning practice. With its roots in food and medicine, creating culinary innovation with tea & botanicals is central to our everyday lives.
Wherever we are on our tea journey, getting into a routine of tea preparation can offer a solid foundation for your day, a quiet moment of reflection and certainty when all else is uncertain. It is in this ritual that we are reminded to be kind to ourselves – and one another.
More About Tea and Ritual
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Gongfu Cha (literally, “Kung Fu Tea”) is a traditional Chinese term that refers to two things: a special class of artisanal, handmade teas and a method of brewing teas of that caliber using particular vessels such as a gaiwan,