I have always loved drinking tea, but rarely do I sit down to actually enjoy it, especially throughout the week when its sole purpose is to keep my eyes open. It hasn’t been until recently that I have considered how I can use tea to create a moment in my day that is mindful and purposeful. Tea has the power to make you feel calm, energized, awake, relaxed, and even rejuvenated! I’m so excited to share with you my newly discovered mindful approach to tea drinking with the help of some very special people!!
Photo by Studio Eiler @studioeiler
Last September, my brother Jonathan came to Chicago to visit us for the weekend. With him be brought a tea set that was definitely not for making tea with the tea bags that I was used to. Side note: I have been buying the same boxed tea from the grocery store since college: Blueberry Green Tea made by Bigelow. It is delicious and I will never give it up. However, Jonathan opened my eyes to the world of loose leaf tea and the experience that it brings to its tasters!
Not only does Jonathan enjoy the taste of the tea that he makes, but he drinks it to have an experience in the present moment. He has taught me how to pay attention to the smell and the flavors of the tea I am drinking, as well as the overall process of making it for yourself and others. I was completely mesmerized as Jonathan went through the entire process of brewing the tea leaves in his teapot. He guided me in noticing flavors and smells, and showed me how the tea leaves were slowly opening up with each brew, allowing us to taste new flavors with every cup.
I decided that I had to share this process with you all!! The whole experience totally falls under #citrusandsunmoments, the idea of finding purpose and energy in small moments of your day. When I was back in Michigan last month, I was able to do a short interview with Jonathan on demonstrating one of his favorite ways to brew loose leaf tea.
Gong Fu Brewing
In our video, Jonathan demonstrates the process of Gong Fu brewing, a traditional Chinese style of brewing tea. The entire process is about appreciating the taste, look, and smell of the tea that you are drinking, along with all of its other qualities. During this process, Jonathan brewed the tea leaves in short infusions causing the tea leaf to open more and more with each brew. This lead to different flavors each time we poured ourselves a new cup. The idea behind this “ceremony” is that there are multiple layers to the tea leaves which allows you to taste different flavors with each brew.
Here are some of my initial thoughts and reflections on Gong Fu Brewing after making this video with Jonathan:
1. My sips were unhurried. It was so easy to be in the moment when making this video because I was sipping slowly to taste all of the flavors of the leaves and to find the hints of different flavors between each brew.
2. I enjoyed the conversation. This method of brewing tea is such a fun experience to have with others, and I absolutely love sharing it with my brother every time we are together. Gong Fu Brewing lends itself very well to mindfulness because you are actually having conversations with others or even yourself about what you are smelling, tasting, and seeing as the tea leaves open more and more!
3. I focused on how I was feeling. Not everyone is going to have the same response from their tea experience, and that’s okay! The important thing in practicing this mindful sipping is to pay attention to however the tea is making you feel, whether that is relaxed, energized, calm, thoughtful, awake, or whatever feeling you might experience! Since making this video, I have been taking a moment while drinking my tea to notice how my mind and body are responding depending on what kind of mood I am in and how I am feeling in that moment.
Check out my interview with Jonathan for the full Gong Fu brewing experience!
**In the interview, I ask Jonathan how long he usually spends drinking a pot of tea this size on his own. Unfortunately this part of the video was cut off for some reason (yes, first-time YouTubers over here!!), but I wanted to make sure that this question was answered. Jonathan said that he usually spends about an hour enjoying the leaves, getting the most out of all of the flavors that they have to offer with each brew!
“Steep. Sip. Discover.” -Tea Hive
In our video, Jonathan mentions a company called Tea Hive! Tea Hive is a monthly subscription box company that curates themed collections of unique teas that showcase the huge amount of variety in preparation, flavor, presentation, and cultural significance for teas around the world.
If you are a lover of tea or even just beginning to discover your taste for tea, I would highly recommend their monthly tea experience! Through their themed monthly tea boxes, you will be able to try different teas from around the world and discover new favorites while also learning the unique stories of the growers and sellers who are a part of each box. Their tagline “steep, sip, and discover” truly captures the experience that they want you to have when you are enjoying a moment with their monthly teas.
“We are a hive, a place where drinkers, growers, blenders, and sellers can come together to celebrate and explore where our tea comes from, what we drink it in, and who we drink it with.” -Tea Hive
Join The Hive!
If you would like more information about Tea Hive and all that they offer, I would encourage you to visit their website myteahive.com! Stop on by and read a little more about their passion for tea and the experience that it brings through the flavors and stories in their boxes!
Daily Sips of Mindfulness
While Jonathan has taught me how to be more mindful when drinking my tea, I have been able to take this idea of “mindfully sipping” and use it in other parts of my life, whether I am drinking coffee in my car on the way to work, having a glass of wine at dinner, or even drinking water after working out. Tasting and experiencing the temperature, the flavors, and the feeling that you get from those sips can give you back a moment of your day that otherwise might have been rushed or unnoticed.
While it’s definitely easier to practice this when you are relaxed or have uninterrupted time, I want to encourage you to take this challenge with me and try “sipping mindfully” at times when it might not be so easy. After all, these are the moments when sipping mindfully could probably benefit us the most! This moment could be when you are at work or out running errands, or if you notice yourself feeling rushed or in a hurry. Take a mindful sip and allow your senses to ground you in that present moment!
A special THANK YOU to my husband, Chuck Eiler, for filming and editing this video, and to my brother Jonathan for sharing his tea expertise with the Citrus & Sun community!
Wishing you zest and light,