As my tea journey has unfolded, I’ve encountered a variety of teas that are truly supportive to the meditation process. These teas are clean and chemical free. Some are old-growth, with deep roots that draw up precious minerals from the earth, creating the possibility for profound grounding and centering. Some are “wild,” raised in plantations where the tea trees grow free from human interference. This natural, wild upbringing allows the tea to manifest its full potential.
This collection has been chosen specifically for use in Leaves in a Bowl meditation. In addition to the tasting notes, you’ll find my personal description of the energetic qualities inherent in each tea. In a Guided Tea Practice, you will have the opportunity to experience them for yourself.
China | 100% oxidation | hand plucked
complex, floral undertone, scent of wild honey
This tea exceeds expectations. It demands your full attention, so give yourself a quiet, peaceful environment and plenty of time. This is an inside tea. Although I often take tea outdoors, it is too distracting for this one. Likewise, set a simple table - the tea itself is the ritual.
What to say about the experience? It is deeply relaxing. Shoulders drop, the jaw stretches itself. After several bowls you feel cleansed, healed from the compounds retrieved from deep in the earth by the long roots of old trees. It seems as if the tea is absorbed rather than digested. In these challenging times it is a remarkable antidote to contraction.
WILD & RAW YOUNG SHENG
China | oxidation, fermentation | wild trees
fresh foliage, birch, mineral, vegetable
A traditional, old tree raw puerh from the Lincang district of Yunnan Province in Southern China, commonly regarded as the birthplace of tea. Beautiful dry leaf ranging from dark leaves to white buds, you can practically see the harvest. Golden green liquor. This tea has aged for about one year, so it is still very green, yet with a distinctive flavor and aroma from the fermentation. Energetically, this tea is incredible. Uplifting yet still grounding, brightening the eyes and a heightened visual awareness. You feel as if you are drinking not just the leaf but the tree, the forest, the amazing biodiversity of Yunnan.
Taiwan | 70% oxidation | organic | small batch
vanilla, white grapes, hint of charcoal roasting
Harvested in 2017 from the traditional Tieguanyin cultivar, this certified organic tea has been lightly roasted over dragon's-eye charcoal with skill and consideration. Brewed in a bowl, it is easy to discover the layers of flavor that emerge in the course of a tea session. In ceremony, this tea is deeply relaxing. Even with the first few bowls, your shoulders will drop effortlessly. As you continue, the heart center may open and breathing may become more expansive. Although it sounds counterintuitive, I have found personally that a lighter brew (less tea) actually has a stronger effect. Sometimes just the thought of drinking this tea is relaxing.
WILD SNOW MOUNTAIN
China | 100% oxidation | old, wild trees
Wild Da Xue Shan (Snow Mountain) is a 2020 Spring tea from Lincang, Yunnan Province. The environment for this tea is clean, with no agrochemical use at all. The teas itself is clean and bright because it comes from well cared for trees.
Da Xue Shan means "Big Snow Mountain" a very well known and revered tea mountain in Mengku area, very high elevation with a good population of old, wild trees.
The first bowl is astonishing. Give the tea a moment to brew and cool, let the leaves settle. From the first sip, the fruity sweet is capitulating, mysterious, almost a little distracting. You feel as if you are drinking the terroir of a place you've never been. The eyes begin to brighten. How does the tea do this? Second bowl taste is less present and the energy goes right to the eyes. Third bowl, the brew is lighter, the texture is fuller and more soft, a hint of the fruity sweetness returns.
2019 AUTUMN WULIANG MOUNTAIN OLD TREE RAW PUERH MAOCHA
China | oxidation, fermentation
The 2019 Old Tree Raw Maocha from Wuliang Mountain is elegant, smooth, and richly textured. The area where this tea is grown is a protected ancient forest at about a 2000 meter elevation. The tea was entirely hand-processed and dried in the sun.
With the first bowl, your attention moves from your mind to your body. Although some people find young sheng puerh activating with an upward energy, this one took me from my thoughts to a more quiet place. Maybe it's the L-theanine working its magic. By the second bowl, the leaves come into focus as unfurl, and you can notice the edges, the veins and the central stem. Inside and out, a moment of peace.