Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Psychology of Tea

The psychology of tea is such a hot topic in Taiwan right now. With psychologists as parents, I've tried to write on this topic previously. He Lao, a friend and tea teacher, mentioned to me that people have written about the psychology of tea, but everything written so far has been a bit shallow. “They just say things like: having a ceremony makes you feel calm, and that this type of tea has this kind of effect and so on,” he begrudgingly remarked. Keep in mind that when He Lao is speaking of tea, he is not talking about herbal tea and he is not suggesting that we achieve some type of altered psychological state by drinking a hallucinogenic tea.

He said, “What we need are some real scientific findings or opinions on the psychological benefits of tea.” I explained that I tried to get some of these answers from my parents, two exceptionally qualified psychologists. Unfortunately, this did not work. Why is a psychologist going to talk about why tea is good, unless they have a vested interest? When Martin was alive, I tried to get him to talk about tea and he wouldn't let me pin him down on anything. This was insightful in of itself because I knew that he would have done practically anything to help me and my tea business. But he wouldn't let me say that he said anything regarding “the psychology of tea.” The message was loud and clear. Any psychologist worth his or her salt would not endorse a product, no matter how good it might be.

So I have decided instead to focus on the psychology of tea as I know it: buying tea, doing tea business, and learning about tea in Taiwan as well as how to live your life. If you want to live well... drink tea.

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