Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Falling into Tea

Green tea steeping in glass
Will you witness the fall? Warn your friends and family: tea is contagious! It has been known to obsess a person. I've seen on multiple occasions personal collections of tea that could not be consumed even in the course of three lifetimes. A person with this volume of tea for personal consumption has fallen into tea.

Tea…the plant that fueled the British industrial revolution, the plant that was symbolically and literally dumped into the Boston Harbor, the leaf from which by adding hot water you have the most widely consumed beverage the world over, second only to water. Many people drink tea as an everyday beverage. Tea people do, but how many Americans have an awareness of tea? America might be far from topping the list of per capita pounds of tea consumed per month, but I would wager a guess that the U.S. has the world’s largest latent tea drinking population. Latent tea people, upon waking, often with the help of some high quality tea, seem intent on making up for lost time.

Do you want to know one of tea's greatest health benefits?
It makes us feel good in the same way that drugs can make us feel good, but considerably less intense. Tea isn't just good for our bodies; it is also good for our minds. To someone like me, Caffeine plus L-Theanine equals brain euphoria. Tea is something magical, like laughter. To quote Jimmy Buffett, “If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.”

A latent tea drinker is a prime candidate and the only ones that actually fall into tea. The transformation from not having tea as a part of their lives, to not being able to imagine life without tea is profound.
Falling into tea is like if you fell into a well and it is impossible to get out. After visiting J-TEA a time or two, once they find themselves making tea for themselves at least once, if not three times per day. At three times a day, consumption would average about a pound per month. This is closer to the per capita consumption of Ireland, commonly the highest per capita tea consuming nation. You go from not knowing that you like tea to not being able to live without tea.
Stacks of oxidizing oolong tea

What are the signs that someone has fallen into tea?
-Brewing and drinking tea several times a day is a start.
-Collecting large quantities of tea for “personal consumption”
-Getting together with friends, expressly for the purpose of brewing tea
-Viewing the taking of tea to be a favorite activity
-Collecting a variety of tea ware
-Buying tea with the intent of aging it
-Buying certain tea ware for certain kinds of tea

Maybe they start a collection of rocks that will positively influence the water for brewing tea, or they are very focused on finding better quality of water for tea, or they have a tea travel case, maybe they take this travel case with them wherever they go, or they are building a tea aging area in their home, or they start a tea blog, a tea review site. They might take their own tea with them wherever they go. They might be in the habit of buying puer by the tong (seven cakes). And the surest sign that a person has fallen into tea is if they themselves go into the tea business.
The Tai He side of Mt. Ah Li. 

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