Choosing What Tea to Drink

“You will never be able to escape from your heart.

So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”

~ Paulo Coelho

...and my heart says, "drink Xinyang Mao Jian!"

I'm one of the lucky ones. Not only do I get to prepare tea and enjoy it multiple times a day, but I have conversations with tea friends, old and new, near and far, almost daily. During these conversations, questions come up and there is never a straight forward answer. If anything tea teaches me about the gray area more often than not.

One of these questions is, "what tea should I drink?"

Choosing a tea is a very personal thing. In general, people tend do drink green tea during the warmer months of the year and the dark roasted teas during the coldest. For me it's not always that simple.

There are dozens and dozens of delicious green teas. Some grassy, some buttery sweet, others tasting of seaweed, and still others smokey. I tend to go with a refreshing and sharp grassy green during hot summer days in the early morning hours. In the afternoon I might drink a Korean Jungjak, or I might just go for an oolong such as a Phoenix dan cong with its bittersweet note, I often find cleansing.

There are a few things that will dictate the way I choose a tea at at any given time during the day, from morning till night.

My mood and internal temperature are factors, as is the weather outside. Is it sunny and cold or warm? Is it raining, windy, and chilly? Is it snowy, cold and dry? Am I calm or anxious, tired or energized? Am I going to the gym or am I sitting in for meditation? Do I need to complement my food or am I just drinking tea? Am I enjoying the beverage after a meal or before? Am I alone or with one or more guests, and if so who are these guests? Are they new to tea?

In developing a tea practice, you start thinking about these things, creating a tea experience appropriate for the circumstance. In doing so, time after time, you start to notice more clearly tiny details that further influence your decision making when it comes to selecting the "right" tea for the occasion. It's all part of the fun.

For instance right now, it is hot and sunny outside. Pearls of sweat are trickling down my face. I drink my tea hot, but will choose one that is grassy, drying and therefore cooling, such as the Xinyang Mao Jian pictured above. It's really that simple.


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