Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Time For Tea

Legends Of The Spiritual Beverage

From a multiplicity of charming legends going back about 5,000 years, tea has the distinction of being the most ancient beverage in the world but its exact origins are shrouded in mystery.

According to the Chinese legend, Emperor Chen-Nung as Divine Harvester, very strict in matters of hygiene, only drank boiled water. During the year 2737 B. C., he sat down to rest in the shade of a wild tea bush whose leaves were gently rustling in the breeze. A few leaves dropped into the imperial cup and the Emperor drank the resulting infusion and felt himself overwhelmed with an ineffable sense of well-being. Tea was thus born.

The Indians attributed the discovery to Prince Bhodi-Charma, son of King Kosjuwo. He had left his native India on a pilgrimage to China, preaching Buddhism along the way. He vowed to never sleep during his seven year meditation. At the end of five years he was overwhelmed with lassitude and drowsiness, but a providential chance made him pick and chew some leaves of an unidentified tree. The tree was a large tea bush and its astonishing properties allowed him to keep his vow.

The Japanese legend is different again: at the end of three years vigil, Prince Bodhi-Dharma allowed himself to fall asleep and dreamt of all the women he ever loved. Upon waking, furious with his own weakness, he ripped off his eyelids and buried them. He returned to the same place some time later to find that his eyelids had taken root and grown into a hitherto unknown bush. He chewed some leaves and he found that they had the property of keeping eyes open. He told the story to his friends who gathered the seeds and thus started the cultivation of tea. It is said that the Prince went form China to Japan taking tea with him.

In the chronicles of Emperor Vu Yu's reign, the date of Prince Bodhi-Dharma's journey appears as 543 B.C.

-From Mariage Freres' The Art Of Tea

I love tea, maybe more than coffee even, and my old boss used to order me different kinds of loose teas from a specialty tea shop. I love black teas especially since I like milky tea but I still cannot stand Lapsang Souchong! I think it tastes like wet socks and smells like burnt tyres.

With the different varieties of loose teas comes all kinds of tea accessories. I especially like the kookier ones, like these tea infusers:

Tea House Infuser @

Teapot Infuser @

Spring-Loaded Infuser

Penguin Tea Timer @

Cicada and Locust Infuser @

Airplane Infuser @

Another Teapot Infuser @ Productwiki

4 cheer(s)!:

Ira said...

I drink an obscene amount of tea, at home and at work.

I use an infuser similar to this one:

because I like looking at the leaves as they brew.

WendyB said...

Eek! The bug ones scare me.

^^Sleepy Jackson^^ said...

tea! teabag + teapot + hot water + two sugars + milk = tea!

Bex said...

Damn straight, Kev!