Tea, and the art of drinking it, has become an integral part of people’s lives across the world and through it, each culture finds connection in a unique way.
A pitcher of sweet iced tea with fried chicken in the South Eastern United States, is as welcoming as a small, potent glass of sweet mint tea with stuffed dates in Morocco. A ceremonial cup of green tea in Japan contrasts a casual cup of Indian Street Chai or Hong Kong Milk Tea, but each serves to connect us to ourselves, to each other and the land.
That's where my blog, Nomadic Tea Party comes in. The idea is to share these diversely different recipes for tea and tea small bites, while simultaneously looking at how they bring people and the land together.
More than 1000 years ago, Buddhist monks brought tea from China to the rest of Asia because of its ability to induce a calm, focused and meditative state. Even today, some monks look at tea as an avatar of love – a divine gift to man from Mother Nature, harbouring the unique ability to connect us through nature, to raise our energy and open us to love.
Beyond caffeine, which revives your mind and puts you in the present moment, the tea leaf, Camellia sinensis, contains various natural chemicals that work to improve your mood, lift your spirits and put you in a more open mindset.
These include L-Theanine, an amino acid that increases alpha waves in your brain; EGCG, an antioxidant that elevates your mood; and theobromine, an alkaloid that relaxes your muscles and supports your heart.
Personally, I think the beauty of tea is about the actual time spent with one another. But then again, a cup of tea alone is a zen moment. We put down our phones and to-do lists and take a few minutes or even hours to rejuvenate and unwind. There is no better tea time than being present in nature, enjoying cream tea on a leafy patio in Devonshire, fruit tea on a sunny porch in Tennessee or yak butter tea on a high mountain plateau in Tibet. Tea can be whatever we need: solace, community, medicine or meditation – the fact it tastes delicious certainly helps.