Search the Sip Tip

Looking for something on this site? Use this search to find it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Other Side of Tea

The picture shows how tea has been helping me most lately. A stack of papers of me working on problems, and writing down notes on theorem proofs or theorem conditions in preparation for a qualifying exam I have on the 28th. I don't often talk about this side of tea drinking, though it sure helps me get through the days and helps me find more time to drink tea.  But seeing as how most students, and especially most graduate students tend to be fuelled almost exclusively by caffeine.

It is the caffeine provided by the tea, that is likely why afternoon tea caught on as such a big deal in the west.  That controlled energy release that does not seem overly sudden like coffee, but with additional chemicals that help do things like regulate blood sugar levels, and with the right tea and the right mood can often help calm the person helping them collect their thoughts.  It's these properties that I actually owe some of my scholastic success to.

I attended a workshop about meta-cognition and how thinking about thinking can both help us learn better and more effectively, but also help us help our students learn better and study more effectively.  What struck me as odd is when they were outlining the processes needed to be able to effectively absorb information, in the back of my head I realized how this sort of naturally helps fit in with my tea habits.  The big emphasis is despite what the common belief is cramming and marathon study sessions often do far more harm than good.

The trick is concentrated study bursts, often less than an hour in length, and sometimes even as short as 15-20 minutes in length.  But that is dedicated time where you are actively trying to absorb a large amount of information from the textbook, or trying to work creatively and effectively on a problem that is challenging you.  (Though if you are making progress on the problem, there is no harm to keep working till it is finished.)  But the key to actually processing the information effectively is after that burst of intense studying or work, is to then do something else that you can do without using all of your mental efforts.

For me this is brewing tea, or drinking tea.  While this may seem inefficient from a time stand point, the fact that you are thinking very little about what you are actively doing, it leaves your brain time to process and think about what you just spent learning, or solving.  But then after that break, go back to studying and repeat the process.  I can not tell you how many times I was halfway through a cup of tea, when I suddenly had a new idea of how to approach a problem ( not always correct, but certainly something to try).  

This does not just apply to academics, it really could help in almost every single job, in part because the break for tea not only helps with your energy, but also gives your mind that little bit of rest, to cool down and collect itself and its thoughts, while still thinking about how to better do what you are currently doing.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Favorite Tea

While it appears that the blog carnival that was being held by the Association of Tea Bloggers' has lost a bit of steam, but we are doing a carnival of sorts to promote the Tea Bloggers' Choice Awards.  The theme for this carnival is favorite tea, but it was left quite loose in terms of where to go from there.  In fact, upon hearing it, I thought about writing about my favorite tea country, my favorite tea type, my favorite way to enjoy tea, or my all time favorite tea session.  The host for this carnival is Jason Walker at Walker Tea Review.

The first two, regular readers can likely guess, and even if they are not correct, they can get pretty darn close to my favorite country or tea type.  While I can not say I have an all time favorite way to enjoy tea, that mostly relies solely on just giving the tea the respect it deserves.  So I think the best thing to write about would be my favorite tea session of all time.

I thought this would be a lot easier, but I've been wrestling back and forth between a few of them over and over and over, with no one session really leading above the others.  But a general trend emerged. They are almost always the Friday afternoon/evening tea sessions.

I have a general trend to make my Friday afternoon/ evening tea's extra special.  I often go for a tea that is a lot more durable, i.e can go through a lot of infusions, as such its usually a tea I consider more special than the stuff I drink from day to day. Oddly enough these teas tend to be aged, thought not always.

Its an odd mix of interplay between mood and enjoyment of tea.  I think the more at ease and glad that it is the weekend, the better I am at being able to enjoy the tea.  As such these special teas seem extra special, because I am completely at ease.  So the enjoyment of being at ease, and drinking good tea is what makes my Friday night tea sessions seem so special.

Other carnival posts can be found below:  ( I will try and update this as I find more links tomorrow).

Black Dragon Tea Bar

The Cup that Cheers

The Devotea

Joys Teaspoon

Notes on Tea

Scandalous Tea

Tea Happiness

Tea For Me Please

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Realizations this Summer

Mountain tea LiShan

I believe I have mentioned a few times before how it is natural for tea tastes to change with the seasons. While most people agree, I oddly have been craving hong cha somewhat regularly this summer, even on some of the hottest days.   Though I still find just about all yancha exceedingly heavy and oppressive in this heat.

Oddly it's August, and I have yet to finish a full bag of shincha.  In part because I spent a good part of early summer even after my shincha has arrived I was working on finishing off sencha from the previous year. ( I still have 100g from 2011, but am working on shincha almost exclusively now).  But in addition to this, through the wonderful Teachat and the Official Teachat Tasting Initiatives (OTTIs) organized by Chip, I have been able to sample more shincha than I other wise would have.

Speaking of samples, I am becoming more and more and more in favor of samples.  Its amazing how getting 6 or so teas with only 7-10 grams each, can just add that much more variety to the list of available teas. These samples by adding variety also slow down the rate at which the other teas get consumed, making your favorite teas last longer.

I would say my tastes have strayed from sencha somewhat based on my consumption, but then I recall that earlier this summer I got a teeny tiny 140ml kyusu, so while I am having the same amount or slightly less sencha sessions, quite a few of them that I do have are now about 1/4th the size of my next smallest kyusu.  While everyone always says small teapots make your teas last through more sessions, because they use less leaf, but I have never noticed it so obviously until I got this teapot.  Though that could be because with my other small teapots, I mostly went with smaller teapots so I could stuff them more, without feeling bad about how much leaf I was using.

Has anyone else had interesting summer realizations?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tea is what you make it

Mountain Tea Imperial Pearl

A few days ago due to quite a few things that I read, I wanted to write a post on the spirit of tea.  Which I got halfway through writing when I realized it was basically a bunch of hot air. Yes, even more so than my usual posts.  While some people might share a similar viewpoint as me to tea, which boils down into it's something to be enjoyed, shared, and savored ( in fewer words than it deserves). I realized the great thing about tea is it can be to anyone what ever they want it to be.

From people mixing tea with alcohol to create new cocktails or beers in order to create new flavor combinations.  Tea could just be like any other beverage, which is just something to drink when thirsty.  To people in the United Kingdom, a tradition that almost everyone enjoys, even if they are not really sure why.  To someone in a Daoist, Buddhist, or any other East Asian religion that views tea as almost a religious tool, and certainly something to be revered.

The great thing I have found out about tea, and tea drinkers, is as a whole while we each have our own personal tea styles, and our own personal tea preferences, very few tea drinkers ever feel compelled to tell someone they are enjoying tea wrong.  If people do not enjoy their tea, tea drinkers are always willing to offer a suggestion to help them enjoy it.  But by all means if you like boiling your tea for 10 minutes, then mixing it with root beer, more power to you.  While most tea drinkers secretly wish you wouldn't to that to all but the absolute worst of teas, possibly not even then.

No matter how you enjoy your tea, as long as you enjoy it, you are doing it right.  Perhaps that is the spirit of tea. 

Bottom Banner