I love the practice of brewing a pot of tea, a simplicity I relish in once a day, twice if I’m lucky. Tea’s a friend to me; when I’m lonely it keeps me company, comforts me, brings me warmth, sits with me, doesn’t judge, yet reminds me about living in the moment and enjoying life’s simple pleasures.
My tea cosy is an insulated jacket for my tea pot. Sitting on my counter, it’s a big huge warm reminder for me to practice self-love and that I’m a curator of my own contentment. This tea purse also matches my orange tea kettle, orange oven mitts and orange kitchen too.
The perfect cup of tea begins with fresh and clean water in order preserve the delicate nuances of the tea’s flavor and aroma. Yes, I’m quite particular about my tea’s preparation and process. I fill my orange cuisinart tea kettle with filtered water (since tap water can contain chlorine and fluoride) in which I feel how much water I’ll need for the tea pot. I find tea tastes the best when brewed in a big tea pot. Don’t worry if you have to measure your water out, at first I had to as well because it takes awhile for me to learn to trust my intuition. Trust I’ll have enough water for my tea pot.
While the kettle heats on the stove I prep the tea. I love loose leaf teas! This particular tea is a custom blend made by my tea sommelier friend, Katie, of Monarch Tea. She made this caffeine free blend from organic rooibos, elderberry, rosehip, blueberry pieces, rose and lavender petals. I love taking in the smells as soon as I open the tea’s packaging, stopping to absorb the sweet floral aroma. It tastes exactly like what I’ll be sipping shortly.
I pick out my most cherished tea cup given to me by my grandmother. A 1975, Royal Albert, fireweed provincial flower, a Gainsborough shaped tea cup with a double split loop handle. The handle closely resembles a portion of the “Om” symbol in Devanagari scripts. I love the hardiness of the purple fireweed from the Yukon; it’s one of the first plants to appear after a forest fire. My other favourite tea cup is a 1960, Royal Albert, blue, true love, also a Gainsborough shape with a double split loop (or om) handle. It was the first tea cup I bought for myself from an antique store.
I add a bit of honey to slightly cover the bottom of the tea cup. Using my orange floral tea tray, I arrange my tea cup and saucer for my own presentation delight, making room for a small plate filled with homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I also love peak frean’s chocolate digestive cookies as well as dad’s oatmeal cookies. They are all perfect for dipping.
The high pitched whistle signals the billowing of steam from the kettle’s spout. I turn the tea pot upside, using the steam to warm up the pot. I turn the burner off, let the water sit for a few seconds. Now I add the tea, loosely right into the tea pot 4-ish tsp of the rooibos tea leaves so they are able to freely marinate in the boiling water, instead of in a tea bag. As I fill the tea pot with boiling water the tea leaves dance in their bath. Once I replace the lid on the tea pot, into the tea cosy it goes as I close the top with a snap. I set the timer for 6 minutes and take a deep inhale and exhale while my tea brews.
My goal isn’t to get the tea made; it’s to enjoy the making of the tea. This isn’t a process to rush, but an opportunity to enjoy mindfulness. I reveal in the preparation, which brings me comfort and a sense of well being. Afternoon tea is about savouring the art of the small, enjoying the alchemy of it; measuring, pouring, mixing and patiently waiting, are all very calming activities. I carry the mindfulness practice of the making of a pot of tea with me as I seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities that nourish my body and soul, engaging my senses and focus on the present moment. Afternoon tea is a beautiful still life in front of me.