Friday, May 04, 2012

Haikuesday May 1st, 2012

Tea can change your mind
sipping it with intention
inside and outside
  • Zach Krebs
The ox pulls its weight
tea allows it to be free
then back to the pen
  • Zach Krebs

Two bucks for great tea
some cost more, also worth it,
After Party Cart
  • Janet

In the library
nothing cool—bad furniture
talk, tea, study, drool.
  • Annie Z-K

Smiling at my cup,
The first of May winks and asks:
“Will you share your tea?”
--Mical Lewis

Tea likes heart, no sound,
no thoughts, only feelings heard,
one cup, ne'er enough
--A Humble Leaf Blowing in the Wind...
(Michael Vasquez)

The puer has arrived,
It surprised me; there were two.
I like both of them.
  • Maddie Norman

Mint tea just won't do
Camelia Sinensis brew
and everything's fine.
  • Josh Chamberlain

Sip 3 cups of tea
mind settles, heart opening
J-Tea, a refuge
  • Lucy Kingsly
Herbs, white, green, red, black
J-Tea warm and welcoming
Tea to satisfy
  • Lucy Kingsly

Spring rains bring lilacs
May Day with Iron Goddess
Everything settles
  • Lucy Kingsly

A cycle of haikus by Jonathan Manly, Josh Chamberlain, and Lucy Kingsly

Sweet taste on the tip
Oolong gently fills my mouth
Bitter down my throat

Sweet taste returning
Red and green or in between
Happiness happens

Sweet taste calms the mind
Blossoming heart opening
cup of tea fulfills

A cycle of haikus by Mical Lewis, Lucy Kingsly and Josh Chamberlain

Say Happy May Day
Spring rains, blossoming flowers
A good time for tea

A good time for tea:
Zhang Shu Hu brings quiet thoughts
and a sweet haiku

And a sweet haiku
offers opportuni-Tea
for friendly playing

For friendly playing
drink J-Tea together and
run through fields of green.

Run through fields of green
selecting words like flowers
laughter fills tea cups

Laughter fills tea cups
even if you feel so-so
say Happy May Day.

A Second Cycle of Haikus by ML, LK, and JC

Reading chicken auras
scratch grains fall like harvest rains
sipping cups of tea

Quietly sitting
scratch grains fall like harvest rains
tea, chickens bring peace

Bitter cups this season
scratch grains fall like harvest rains
All the chicks gather  

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Channeling Compassion; Iron Goddess of Mercy by Mical Lewis

I have a very personal relationship with the Iron Goddess of Mercy. She was one of the first teas that I liked immediately when I came to work at J-Tea and thus one of the first I could recognize by color and taste. I've always enjoyed strong flavors, so it made sense that I would appreciate Iron Goddess tea. But she really earned my respect and reverence when she helped me overcome a bad case of misanthropy one morning as I was opening the shop.

I don't know why I was drawn to that particular tea that morning as I grumpily swept the floor and wiped down the counters. Maybe it was because I usually drink strong black tea in the mornings or maybe I received a gentle nudge from the universe. As soon as I inhaled the beautiful, fruity fragrance and took my first sip, I felt my heart open and my misanthropy began to melt away.

I later learned that this tea is named after the Chinese Buddhist Goddess of compassion, Kwan Yin. Kwan Yin is a Bodhisattva, which means that she is a being who chose to help humanity even though she had achieved enlightenment and could have ascended into nirvana. She chose to stay with us until every last being had also achieved enlightenment. Another name for her is “She Who Hears the Cries of the World.”

This theme of compassion appears in the original story of the Tie Guan Yin tea varietal. The story goes like this: Every day on his journey to his fields, a farmer would pass by an old, dilapidated temple that contained an iron statue of Kwan Yin. Day after day he passed this temple, thinking to himself how sad it was that there was no one to care for it. On his way to he fields each day he began to stop and sweep out the temple and make sure that the correct offerings were available. After some time Kwan Yin came to the farmer in a dream and told him that when he came to the temple the next day he would find a plant growing near the foot of her statue. She told him to put the leaves in boiling water and that the liquid produced would be of great value to him. And so the Tie Guan Yin varietal of tea was born out of an act of kindness and compassion.

And indeed I feel like I can taste a little bit of an iron tang in and amongst the fruity overtones and the caramel-without-the-sweet flavors. Though this version it is a dark oolong tea, it is quite low in caffeine because it has been heavily roasted. Hot or cold, this is an excellent tea to sip to help you open your heart. So the next time you're enjoying a cup of Iron Goddess, think about Kwan Yin and feel your heart start to open.