“Tea … is a religion of the art of life.” – Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea –
There’s something magical about a cup of tea. Each mixture and color more than cup deep. My introduction to tea came, like most Americans, in the form of English black tea: mild-tempered and flat. Years later, I found myself in my uncle’s kitchen in Santa Cruz sitting on a wooden stool watching him mix together Pu-‘er and rosehips. I can still remember the smell of the ocean as we sat together in the kitchen, talking about where I’ve been and am going.
Little did I know, this was only the beginning of my love for tea. In college, one of my running buddies brought me back rooibos from South Africa and another friend let me try her limited supply of buckwheat tea from her trip to China. I’ve been blessed by the tea gods with some pretty great opportunities to try new flavors.
I worked at a coffee shop for awhile and tasted everything from roasted mate to oolong. While everyone was pouring over the latest coffee batch, I was mixing up loose leaf behind the counter, obsessing over water temperature and steep time.
To this day, tea is one of my favorite drinks. On Saturdays, I go for long runs and come home to a big cup of black tea to warm me up. The Atlas of Tea: From Leaf to Cup by Kristi Smith is my latest go-to for tea inspiration. Her knowledge about tea history and advice on creating blends is invaluable.
I used her chapter on How to Create Your Own Tea Blends to put together a tea to clear my head and open my heart. This is my go-to blend when I need a non-caffeinated mix to sit with — to be still and listen to what’s going on around me.
She’s been generous enough to offer a copy to one of my readers. 10/10 recommend taking her advice on tea mixing, brewing, and drinking. If you’d like a copy, leave a comment below with your favorite tea and some tips on how/where I can make/find it!
Clear Headed Tea
5 tbs chamomile
2 tsp mint
1 tsp dried licorice root
2 tsp goji berries
To brew, add 1 heaping tsp per cup or 2 tsp for a small teapot.