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Happy 2015! It is once again the New Year and that means new everything! It does not just mean “new year, new me” but as a way to start anew. There are 365 brand new days ahead of us and we have the power to make each of them great! So while we ring in the new year by raising our glasses (whether it’s champagne or tea), others have their yearly rituals to ensure good luck in the coming year.

© Freds | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Freds | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Great Britain rings in the new year with fireworks over the Thames with everyone cheering and shouting their celebrations, singing Auld Lang Syne. The British then open the back door of their homes to wish the old year farewell and reflect on the year passed. The first-foot of the new year is very important. To ensure good luck to the residents of the house, the first entrant to the front door must usually be young, male, good-looking, and healthy. He must also be dark haired and carrying a bit of coal, salt, bread, and money. It’s apparently even better if this gentleman is a stranger! The children also wake up early to visit their neighbors to sing some some New Year’s songs. The neighbors usually give the children sweets, apples, mince pies, and coins in exchange for the songs. This is usually done until noon.

© Fedor Patrakov | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Fedor Patrakov | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Over in Scotland, people celebrate Hogmanay. It is the celebration of New Year’s Eve, lasting from the last day of the year up until January 2. The Scottish take it a whole new level! Fireworks and musical performances line the night at the big moment! Then at the stroke of midnight, the partygoers begin to sing Auld Lang Syne, a Scots poem by a gentleman named Robert Burns. Linking and crossing arms arms and singing at the last verse. The song is also played in Times Square in New York City after the ball drops (did you know that the ball is usually made from Waterford Crystal in Ireland?) at midnight.

© Josiah Garber | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Josiah Garber | Dreamstime Stock Photos

And much like Britain, Scotland also partakes in first-foot. They give coal, shortbread, whisky, and a black bun, which is a type of fruit cake covered in a delicious pastry. The guest is then give food and drink. In Britain, it is also a good gesture to offer tea to the guest. Possibly to accompany some delicious shortbread or mince pies/black buns. The first entrant of the year might fancy a good cuppa after such a celebration.  The pick could be the standard Typhoo or maybe something a little more different, perhaps a good Irish or Scottish tea? Keep in mind the people over in the UK have entire store aisles devoted to tea, so the choices are endless!

~CD

Editor’s Note: I am including the English version of Auld Lang Syne here for those of us who never really knew exactly what is sung (italics for original Scot/modern English translation):

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days of long ago?

CHORUS:
For days of long ago, my dear,
for days of long ago,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for days of long ago.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for days of long ago.

CHORUS

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since days of long ago.

CHORUS

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since days of long ago.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for days of long ago.

CHORUS
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New Year’s resolutions are not for everyone- a little like the British delicacy of marmite, they seem to be something that you either love or hate. But, if you are in the habit of making them, it is usually around this time that you might stop and take account of how your New Year’s resolutions are holding up.

Tea Filters (ETS image)

Tea Filters (ETS image)

Whilst I often eschew the resolution-making mania, this year I thought it could be fun to set myself a New Year’s tea resolution. There were a host to choose from, but I finally settled on one and thought it was about time to check in on it.

My New Year’s tea resolution was to invest in some tea filter bags (such as these or these) so that I can improve my tea options when I am out and about all day. I make frequent use of my thermos, but since it does not have an infuser I end up grabbing one of my teas in teabag form as I head out the door.

Now, don’t get me wrong- there are some very nice teas to be found in bagged form that I enjoy drinking. However, these (for my tastes and preferences) tend to be black teas. And while I am often looking for a nice strong cup of black tea in the afternoon (usually PG Tips or Barry’s), sometimes a gentler green tea or oolong tea is in order. My options therefore usually involve a sub-standard green bagged tea, which I have to buy at a café that doesn’t really understand how to make it. This is unnecessary on two counts, considering that I have a perfectly good stock of loose teas at home and could make them much better myself. This is where the tea filter bags come in- they would allow me to pre-bag some of my nice loose teas to take with me, and would give me some more options for tea on the go.

Of course, buying the filters is the easy part. The harder part is actually changing my habits and routines to start using them effectively. However, at over half a month in, I think I am doing pretty well. I set aside an afternoon to pre-bag a range of my loose teas (I like options) and have these bags in tins (they still need to be kept fresh!). Now when I’m heading out the door I have some choices, and often I take a couple along, just in case my preference changes half-way through the day. So far so good- we’ll see how it goes from here!

See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Another year has rolled by and with it many events have occurred. Some goals got accomplished and others did not. How did your year go? And what resolutions do you have lined up for this New Year that is upon us? Mine are all about tea, naturally!

Let’s skip past the obvious such as “trying more teas” and “learning how to more properly steep tea” or even “sharing tea with friends more.”

A well-prepared Tea Princess need never suffer that “restaurant tea”! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A well-prepared Tea Princess need never suffer that “restaurant tea”! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Here’s the list for the year ahead:

  • Stay true to your own tastes when it comes to tea. Sure you can get advice from me, a couple dozen other blogs, the college kid working in the local tea shop, or your Uncle Fred. But you will sooner or later need to deal with your tastebuds and your sense of smell, and they aren’t going to be happy if you don’t listen to them. Mine practically scream “Assam!” at me in the morning and then start nudging me about some Darjeeling in the afternoon, and get downright insistent in the evening for some soothing Sencha or even an herbal such as Chamomile — which brings the next resolution to mind.
  • Learn to say “herbal infusion” instead of “herbal tea.” I know a lot of tea vendors (even the company that owns this blog) who use the term “herbal tea” and there’s nothing too wrong with that. I fuss about it because of all the people I’ve met recently who find tea confusing and even more so with all those herbals mixed in. If we all switched to calling them “infusions” instead, it might help, especially for those who want to avoid the small amount of caffeine in true tea. My two cents’ worth here!
  • Make or buy that long-overdue Tea Princess Kit so you never get stuck having to settle for that stuff they serve in restaurants. By now those of us who have been enjoying fine teas at home know that there is a total absence of anything even remotely like them to be found in most restaurants in the U.S., so bringing that kit along is increasingly essential. My personal kit is shown here, complete with a suitable treat. Since we only eat out rarely these days and then usually in certain places, the staff there have become familiar with this kit and also know to bring me water that has been brought to a full boil. Heh heh!
  • Form a local tea club. One approach might be to have a group of your friends join you in signing up for a tea vendor’s tea club. Then, you can all gather together for each new tea that arrives to enjoy it en masse. Another is for you each to take turns selecting the next tea to try, just as you would do for a book-of-the-month club. This would be a tea-of-the-month.

Whatever you choose for the New Year, may it last longer than most resolutions do and may it bring more positiviTEA to your life. Happy New Year!

See also:
Lining Up Those Tea Resolutions
Tea Resolutions and Other New Years Stuff
New Years Tea Time Resolutions
Resolving to Enjoy Tea in the New Year
Holiday Tea Time – New Year’s Eve

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The new year is almost upon us and, as always, the first of January is the signal for those who engage in such practices to roll out a bright shiny new list of New Year’s resolutions. January 6 is, of course, the day by which 96.4% of those resolutions have fallen by the wayside, but for purposes of this article that’s kind of beside the point.

The English Tea Store University

The English Tea Store University

The point of this article is to encourage one and all to resolve to drink better tea in the year to come. For, as the slogan at my own tea site reminds us, Life’s Short – Drink Good Tea. So if you’d like to resolve to drink better tea in the coming years – and I’d encourage you to do so – here are a few things you might want to keep in mind.

The first thing you can do if you want to drink better tea is to start with better tea. Which seems a bit obvious but it’s not always. But we’ll get to that in a moment. Because the second thing to know is that, even if you don’t go for a tea upgrade, you can probably do better with the tea you’re drinking now.

You can find an overwhelming number of articles that claim to tell you how to devise the perfect cup of tea – which seems a bit ambitious. I’m guilty of writing a few of these articles myself and you can find the latest one here. But here’s the stripped down version of the perfect tea equation – use good water heated to the appropriate temperature for the tea you’re drinking and don’t oversteep it. Yes, you should also avoid understeeping, but I’d wager that this is a less common problem.

Of course, there are some teas that might be beyond saving. Which is where the notion of starting out with a better quality of tea comes into play. While the cost of upgrading your tea might be a matter of some concern I’ll point out, as I’ve done countless times – including this article – that even those teas that seem quite expensive aren’t always. And if you look hard enough you might find good tea that doesn’t even seem expensive. In my own case I’ve been ordering a number of quite good Assam teas lately that break down to about thirteen cents a cup and that’s after factoring in shipping.

So if the truth be told making a resolution to drink better tea this year is one that you actually stand a chance of keeping. As for the ones about running five miles a day or writing the Great American Novel, I’m afraid I can’t help you with that.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tis the season for resolutions, so it seems only natural to resolve to enjoy tea in the New Year. That means doing more than just grab a cuppa and go in the morning. It means resolving to take some time apart from your busy schedule to do something special tea-wise.

Resolving on more tea! (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Resolving on more tea! (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Try a New Tea

Rather than automatically reaching for “the usual” in the morning, go for a tea you might not think of to start your day. Rather than a breakfast blend, you could opt for an oolong. Or if you’re the type who likes a nice, frothy cuppa matcha when greeting Old Sol, maybe trying some Keemun or Kenyan or Ceylon black tea. Whichever option you choose (and there are many more from which to choose), it will make your new year a true tea adventure.

Set Aside a Tea Time

The British and other countries where tea drinking is a much bigger deal than in the U.S. tend to have “tea times” — a special time of the day for pausing in one’s endeavors to “partake of a special brew and possibly a treat or two”! (Yes, it rhymes — nothing like a bit of tea time poetry.) You don’t have to bring your whole world to a halt, but you can “fill in a gap” such as having tea while the laundry is in the dryer or sipping that Sencha while your car’s tires are getting rotated (just set the appointment with the repair shop for when you would normally be having tea).

Learn Something New About Tea

As one who considers knowledge the gateway to enjoyment, I encourage you to learn more about this wonderful beverage. From terminology to ceremonies to history to cultural approaches, there is a wealth of information out there that will awaken you to more than the flavor and aroma of that liquid in your cup. Books about tea abound and range from introductory with lots of gorgeous photos to the highly-researched and complex ones. No need to dive in head first. You can start out simple and work your way through it all, trying new teas along the way.

Share Tea with Someone

Whether it’s a friend, relative, neighbor, or co-worker, let them in on the joys of tea. In fact, you will get more from tea by sharing your knowledge and a cuppa with him or her. So many folks just need that starting point, but not all will be receptive to that first step. In fact, a bit of gentle persistence (“Mmmm… this new tea I bought the other day is a real treat!”) could arouse their curiosity naturally, and they will come to you for more information or to try some.

Wishing you lots of tea joy in the coming year!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Golden Heaven Yunnan China Black Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Golden Heaven Yunnan China Black Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

There’s a popular notion that over the course of seven years the cells of the human body regenerate and you’ve essentially become a new person, at least in the physical sense. Whether it’s true or not is not for me to say, but it’s a concept that occurred to me as I reflected on my latest year as a dedicated fan of tea.

July marked the end of seven years that I’ve been writing about tea at my own site. Whether or not I’ve become a new person in that time I can’t say. What I do know is that I’ve learned quite a bit about this vast subject (maybe in seventy more years I’ll be starting to get the hang of it) and my tastes in tea have changed considerably.

When I started drinking tea I was quite fond of flavored varieties, for the most part. But my tastes began to change over the years and this year I finally decided to swear off that flavored stuff altogether. Which is not to say that I’ll never ever drink it again, but it could happen. This year I also decided that I’d completely lost interest in a few other types of tea (white, puerh, Darjeeling) a topic I wrote about more extensively in an another article at this site.

In the same vein, I’ve decided, with white and puerh out of the picture and my relatively minimal interest in yellow and oolong tea, that I’d renew my focus on green tea and especially black. Though I never waste an opportunity to proclaim my love for Assam tea, my mainstay this year has actually been a Chinese black variety known as Yunnan.

On the writing front, 2012 found me contributing more than 150 articles to this very site on a wide variety of topics. At my own site I turned in about 300 posts in all, which is not quite as impressive as it might seem, given that a fair number of those were reposts of other people’s fine commercials and videos on tea-related topics. And of course I’m not the only one, as you can see if you look at the Tea Blog List I’ve been maintaining there for many years. It swelled considerably this year and the next update should take to somewhere near the 400 mark.

Which wasn’t such a bad year, now that you mention it and I’m standing by to see what 2013 brings.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The year in tea closed with a bang, of sorts. If you pay even a little bit of attention to the tea industry you probably already know that. Even if you know nothing about tea you might have heard about the wheeling and dealing between some of the big players in tea retailing and those looking to establish a firmer footing in the business. No need to rehash that since I recently wrote about it here, but I thought it should merit at least a passing mention.

May your New Year be full of tea! (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

May your New Year be full of tea! (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Speaking of big players, Billy Corgan, guitar player and front man for the Smashing Pumpkins, grabbed his fair share of headlines and did his part to raise tea’s profile a bit when he opened a tea café in the Chicago area this year. If you’re still not convinced that tea and rock and roll go together, note that there are also a few other rock and rollers who have taken to tea retailing, as I wrote in an article earlier this year.

This would be as good a time as any to roll out a few facts and figures about how the tea industry grew this year and how it will continue to grow in the upcoming year, but I won’t. It did and it will, and the fact and figures are out there if you want them. But for my money, one of the best indicators of the robust health of the tea industry is how many new merchants seem to be hanging out their shingle every day.

I almost always click through to these merchant sites every time I run across a name I don’t remember seeing before. If I were more organized, I’d have attempted to keep track of them, but I’d be willing to bet that I came across at least one new tea seller every other day throughout 2012, and even that’s probably a low figure.

And not to be a downer, but this brings to mind one of my favorite topics, one that I also wrote about here this year. That’s how so many of these aspiring merchants don’t seem to have caught on to the fact that there are hundreds of others doing the exact same thing and maybe they should think about how to distinguish themselves. If they want to be around at the end of 2013, that is. Or if they want to celebrate a twentieth anniversary, like the good people at Republic of Tea did this year. Say what you want about their “tea company as a country” gimmick, but they must be doing something right.

So, tea’s doing just fine for itself, thank you, and it will continue to do so as we break out our noisemakers and stronger drink to ring in the New Year. But if you ever got to wondering how all this came to be, I offered up a few thoughts earlier this year in an article called How Tea Became Hip.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Flowering Tea - 3 Flower Burst - Green Tea

Flowering Tea - 3 Flower Burst - Green Tea

The last chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” has drifted off into the night air, the last balloon inscribed with “Happy New Year” has popped, the confetti has been swept up, and Dick Clark has been put back in cold storage for next year’s dropping of the big ball in Times Square. Time to close the door on the old year and start off the new year with a new tea!

“New” is a pretty relative term. For many people in their 30s, 20s, and teens, the music of The Beatles is “new” since they weren’t around when “Hard Days Night” and “8 Days a Week” were first performed to a large crowd of screaming adolescent females. To me, watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on cable TV is new, but not to my parents who grew up going on dates to the cinema to see this star couple glide gracefully through their routines. Thus it is for tea.

The New Year is a great excuse to shake things up a bit, so why not with tea? We tend to be creatures of habit, and thus can slide into ruts both in our lives in general and in such things as our tea enjoyment. So, we need to make the effort to pick something new.

Jasmine Delight Bubble Tea

Jasmine Delight Bubble Tea

A few options:

  • 100 Monkeys White Tea — A nice way to take the plunge away from black and green teas into the wonderful world of white teas. This is a premium grade, loose leaf white tea from China, and a best-seller. Prepare with care, though. This tea needs water that is heated to about 170-185° F but a longer steeping time of 15 minutes is recommended to let the flavor fully develop.
  • Bubble tea — A treat with its origins in Taiwan, where some of the world’s high-end green and oolong teas are grown. This beverage mixes tea, milk, and tapioca balls into something quite unique and very popular in many countries.
  • Oolong Orange Blossom Estate tea — A “twofer” that’s great to get you to try oolong and also get a refreshing burst of fruity jasmine notes. Perfect for those who like jasmine but want to explore oolongs.
  • Flowering Tea – 3 Flower Burst – Green Tea — A “threefer” not only by design but by effect. The dry tea “bud” contains lily, osmanthus, and jasmine blooms, and is tied together with steamed full leaves of Yunnan green tea. As it unfolds, you will see an impression of the Yunnan Province countryside in China, with its perfect climate for growing flowers. You get a full green taste with peach, lily and jasmine notes. Use boiling water and infuse about 5 minutes.
  • Izu Matcha — Powdered green tea from Japan with a bright Spring green color and a rich planty aroma. Go all the way and prepare it in true Japanese fashion, complete with bamboo whisk.

The bottom line is to get out of your tea “comfort zone” and go for something completely new. Who knows, you could like that new flavor so much that it’ll become your new daily cuppa!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Have a cuppa tea handy while you write your list

Have a cuppa tea handy while you write your list

The time is near to line up those tea resolutions. Like the commonly made resolutions of losing weight, studying harder, being nicer to people, etc., tea resolutions are goals we set for the New Year in the hope of getting more enjoyment from the tea we drink.

There seems to be some deep human need to assign beginnings and endings to things and then to commemorate them. It seems to be related to us being born, living, and dying. New Year’s Resolutions are one way of marking an ending of the old year and the start of a new year. They date back to 153 B.C. when Janus, a mythical 2-faced king of early Rome who could look at the past and the future simultaneously, was used as the name of the first month of the year on the Roman calendar. Which month was the first and which day was the first day of the year have been different throughout mankind’s history and is still different in countries around the world, China being the most notable.

Resolutions are very personal things. Tea resolutions are even more personal, since your approach to tea and what you want from it are things that only you can decide.

A few basic resolutions you might consider:

  • Read a tea book or two or even three (there’s tons of ’em out there)
  • Make a point of having a daily “tea moment” (just you, a cozy spot, and a cuppa tea)
  • Order some tea samples totally different from any teas you’ve tried before ― expand your taste horizons!
  • Add a special teapot to your arsenal
  • Ditto for a special teacup and saucer or a mug

Some more esoteric resolutions to try out:

  • Try a different way of preparing your teas, for example doing a gongfu style preparation instead of the European style
  • Attend tea seminars and even possibly the next World Tea Expo
  • Adopt someone as your tea protégé to teach them about tea
  • Make up your own blend of teas for your personal enjoyment and/or to share with friends
  • Start your own boutique tea company (assuming that your tea blends are a hit with your friends), like so many seem to be doing these days
  • Write your own book about tea or in some way related to tea, like Katrina Ávila Munichiello did recently
  • Begin your collection of antique teawares from Wedgwood and others

Whatever you decide to be your tea resolutions (i.e., goals) for the New Year, put your list together while sipping tea so you have the proper inspiration, and be realistic here. Having a resolution to visit every tea garden on the planet might not be achievable, especially if you have school age children or lack the funds for such extensive traveling. I wouldn’t count such a thing out entirely, though. After all, where there’s a will there’s a way.

Happy Tea New Year!

See also:
Tea Samplers
Toasting in the New Year with the “Champagne of Teas”
New Year’s Tea Time Resolutions
Tea Resolutions and Other New Year’s Stuff
Holiday Tea Time — New Year’s Eve

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The calendar is full of all kinds of special dates, and this tea drinker is starting to pay a bit more attention to them (more reasons to steep a special tea in their honor). In February, it was the Chinese New Year (I missed the Taiwanese New Year). Now in March on the 5th, it’s the Tibetan New Year, called “Losar,” and this is the year of the hare, numbered 2138 in their calendar. Both new years are celebrated as great occasions in a part of that world that are considered the foundation of tea drinking.

Like the Chinese New Year, the Tibetan New Year celebration also spans several days (actually, about 15 days). Not one big hurrah! and then on with life the next day, like a lot of the world does. According to the Tibetan lunar calendar, Losar begins on the first day of the first month, and the celebration starts on the 29th day of the previous month (which is the 12th month of the previous year). Confused yet? Me, too. Never fear, a quick cuppa tea and… ah, that’s better. Now it’s all crystal clear.

Part of the celebration on the 29th day of the previous month of the previous year is the preparation of special noodles (“guthuk”) made of dried cheese, grains, and about seven other ingredients. Sort of like the toppings on a Burger King burger and just as secretive. Dough balls with secret stuff hidden in them are given out. The ingredient in yours is supposed to say something about your character. Chilies mean you’re a bit of a gabber. White items (rice, sugar, wool, etc.) are a good sign, where black items like coal mean you’re black-hearted.

Still confused? Well, let me add here that the next day, the 30th day of the previous year, is for cleaning things. The day after that, which is actually the first day of the new year, is for presenting special cakes at the temple. Afterwards, they gather in the hall of Excellence of Samsara and Nirvana to greet each other with the traditional “Tashi Delek.” Then, it’s a bunch of eating and lots of tea drinking.

The next day is called “King’s Losar” where people again gather in that hall so the Dalai Lama and government officials can greet each other and foreign visitors from Bhutan, China, India, Mongolia, Nepal, and more. Things continue the following day, which is the 3rd day of the new year, with festivals and goes on for a couple more weeks.

Tea drinking is important in Tibet, although an important spot for tea lovers (the Jiuhua – Sacred Mountain) is in Anhui Province in China. Jiuhua tea (Jiuhua Fo Cha) is very special, with leaves that are a bit downy but also very green. The two-leaves-and-a-bud combo float gently in your cup of water heated to about 160˚ F and impart their essence into that water for you to enjoy. Sip it slowly and relish each drop.

There is a story about tea and a teacher of Zen (a type of Buddhist philosophy). In brief, the teacher had a student come to him. He poured the student tea but kept pouring even after the cup was full. He explained that, like the cup, the student’s head was already full, so how could he add to it? The knowledge would just overflow and spill on the ground. Other than the simplistic and totally unrealistic view of the capacity of the human brain, the story is a charming one. To me, the point is to drink your tea from the cup before trying to pour more tea into it and organize the knowledge in your brain before trying to absorb more. I was also amused to see a version of this story used in the movie “The Forbidden Kingdom.”

Try an Asian tea to celebrate. A nice Tie Guan Yin is my personal choice. Enjoy!

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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