Muse of the Brew, Student of the Leaf
I’m not an elitist, a purist, an expert, a tea-snob, or a know-it-all. I am a beginner, and a tea-adventurer.
Tea often speaks of the kindness of strangers, when spoken language will not suffice. Tea transcends expectations. In an ancient gesture of welcome, a cup of hot tea offered on a desert-journey refreshes and, surprisingly, cools, like a floral oasis. Mine was poured from a dented aluminum kettle carried by camel-pack, sipped in silence as we crouched on hard-baked earth that held its heat although the equatorial moon burned full above us.
Many degrees north and east, I have shivered and clasped a tea-bowl with both hands while a storm raged up and down the mountain, wind rattling the corrugated tin roof like a hungry ghost. My hosts chuckled at me through the veil of steam rising from our cups, their children dozing blissfully in our laps, wrapped in skins.
Imagine my amazement not long ago when I encountered the seemingly normal couple with no teapot. Prosperous retirees in a sleek, designer-y home on the northern California coast, filled with books and art. No teapot, no tea-kettle, no tea. Not even a random no-name teabag pinched from hotel room-service on a business trip. No, they were not zealots, who consider tea (perhaps correctly) as medicine. For the first time, I knew that I was amongst savages. I found it terrifying.
What I love about tea is its mystery. There is always an element of surprise when I raise a cup of tea, even if it is one of my favorites. Like wine, tea is dynamic and volatile. Its chemical composition evolves and changes. Even in a proper airtight tin, tucked away from light, it will not last forever. Speaking as a novice, my advice: enjoy it now.
There is no time like the present, starting with October, to enjoy “Tea for Her”, if you’re a gal. If you’re not, well, it couldn’t hurt, but Art of Tea also makes manly blends for dudes.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s the perfect time to schedule that squeeze-fest known as a mammogram, or as I prefer to call them, “girlie s’more’s”. For resources and information, check out Pink-Link.org, a non-profit online resource for women with breast cancer, breast cancer survivors, and all of us who love them.
Back to the brew: As you know, many potential benefits are swirling in the pot of discussion regarding tea-drinking. In particular, an organic phytoestrogen known as Shatavari makes this tea of special interest to women. In the Ayurvedic tradition, Shatavari is called “curer of 100 diseases”. Well, actually, in Sanskrit, “Shatavari” means “she who possesses 100 husbands”, which, hmmmmm, sounds even more interesting, as long as I don’t have to wash all those socks. In any case, this relative of the asparagus plant has been valued in India for centuries as a women’s tonic, recommended to support healthy pregnancy and support a nursing mother’s lactation.
“Tea for Her” blends Shatavari with Organic Fennel (yummy licorice/anise-like flavor, and famously digestive) with a bouquet of Organic Lavender, Hibiscus and Chrysanthemum, suffused with the exquisiteness of Organic Rose-Petals. No caffeine. This is a Certified Organic and Fair Trade tea. A pleasing cup for anyone needing a lift, or just lovin’ some girl-power.