~ Americans ~
Americans sure like to rush around, don’t we? We move so fast from here to there. From home to work, out to grab a hurried lunch, then back to work, after which we run a few quick errands, before we dash off to the gym, or a class… I’m sure you get the idea… we are always on the go go go.
This “lifestyle” (or lack of style in living life) has taken a large toll on many of us. We are all too often stressed out, we feel tired more often than we feel rested, we are constantly thinking about all the things that we need to do in the future while not recognizing our present, and we have forgot how to feel truly content with where we are and what we have.
Tea is a very much the opposite of the American way of life. It is a sit down, slow your roll, take some time to relax and enjoy life sort of drink. Which is why I believe that now, more than ever, Americans need someone to bring tea into their lives.
In an attempt to help the aforementioned, American tea drinkers, like myself, are seeking to bring the gift of artisan tea to the people. I’m going to offer my thoughts about how tea can affect the following topics:
I choose these topics because they weigh heavy on the minds of the typical overworked American.
~ Coffee, Tea, and Productivity ~
Many Americans fuel their constant feelings of “do more, do faster, do bigger” by drinking coffee. I use to be one of those people. I would drink many cups of coffee every day. Coffee became something I would use to keep myself going down the meta to do list that made up a “normal” day.
Nowadays, I’ll drink coffee from time to time, but it is a rare occasion. Rather than grabbing a to-go cup, or having a machine brew me coffee, I’ve opted to slow down and make tea. I’ve blogged about this before, but I think it’s worth repeating. Rather than having a negative impact on my productivity, I’ve found that taking the time to slow down and prepare tea has made me feel more calm, clear headed, and less stressed. As a result, I make less mistakes, and I’m more pleasant for people to be around. The over all result: I’m far more happy and far more productive. Needless to say this has done wonders for my “professional” life.
~ Coffee, Tea, and Relationships ~
Brewing a good oolong, or a pu-erh tea gongfu style can be a ritual that can last an hour or more. While the prospect of sitting down and experiencing a good tea for that length of time is something I find exciting, most Americans would probably run for the hills at the thought of having to sit, drinking and talking about tea, for longer than ten minutes.
However, I’ve found that the people I’ve been able to brew tea gongfu style for, find the experience to be both a pleasant surprise and a rewarding activity, even if they were apprehensive about the process at first.
Having people sit down and drink tea prepared in a gaiwan is always very social. The people talk about the tea, their jobs, and sometimes even their lives outside of their jobs. At the end of the gongfu session, the people have shared some well prepared tea, and the gift of time spent and conversations had with one another. Doing this helps build and sustain meaningful relationships with our fellow human beings.
~ Tea and Economics ~
Tea is a very inexpensive drink (and hobby) for anyone, and in tough economic times, it has not only helped me slow down and relax, it has also helped me keep of my paychecks.
Before I was drinking tea on a regular basis, it was commonplace for me to go to Starbucks at least once a day, usually in the morning on my way to work, and spend anywhere from $2.00-$5.00 a day on some sort of drink. Now I spend $10.00-$20.00 on a few ounces of loose leaf tea and it will last me for about a month, and since I can infuse the leaves many times, I get MANY cups of tea. I’m not a math person, but the savings are obvious.
I would also like to point out that spending money on loose leaf tea is far more cost effective than single-use tea bags, which are filled with lower grade tea and will fail to steep for more than two infusions per teabag.
~ End Notes ~
As American tea people, we are living in a very exciting time. Tea is becoming more and more popular, and everyday more people are becoming curious about about this wonderful beverage. I really believe that the next few years are going to be great for us tea people…
- Go and drink some good tea.
- If you can share it with friends, do that too.