Thoughts on Tea ...
MORE THAN A BEVERAGE
Tea is a powerful tool that has many lessons to teach us. It is tea, in this sense, that Northeast Tea House is committed to sharing with the world. It is no secret that modern life is hectic and stressful, and for those in urban environments, there are fewer and fewer places for one to unplug, rest, and be at peace.
For various reasons, tea and traditional tea culture has the power to provide a sense of calm that is difficult to come by in the modern era. When one fully engages with tea in a space designed to be relaxing and restorative, tea's power is easy to access. Northeast Tea House aims to be that space - a space for mindfulness and calm, for laughter and friendship, and for amazing tea.
TO GET SCIENTIFIC
Tea has been the muse of poets and Buddhist monks for centuries, and for good reason. It not only creates a sense of calm-alertness perfect for meditation, but is often an object of meditation in and of itself.
To brew tea with traditional teaware, as in the gongfu style of tea brewing, is complex enough to draw one's attention to the present moment, and easy enough to remain relaxing. With each re-steeping, the flavors and aromas change. This process of change keeps your tea sessions interesting, and the changes provide even more objects for meditation.
Somewhere along the way, time begins to slow down. A good tea experience can teach us quite a lot; it speaks of our evolving connection to the natural world, of the transience inherent in life - of how that transience is often a good thing, gifting us new flavors again and again. Tea reminds us of the perfection of the present, and the extraordinary nature of "ordinary" activities. In other words, whether sipping on your own, or together with friends, tea feels really, really good.
This amino acid is unique to tea and known to have calming properties. It increases GABA, Dopamine, and Serotonin signaling in the brain.
One of the major catechins found in tea, long acknowledged as producing health benefits, but did you know that EGCG also increasing endocannabinoid signaling? Fun fact: one of the body's main endocannabinoids is called "Anandamide," named after the Sanskrit word for "bliss," and also one of the Buddha's first disciples.
Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) is the body's main "inhibitory" neurotrasmitter - that means it tells the body and brain to slow down. There is debate as to whether this can cross the blood-brain barrier, but it can bind to receptors in the gut, which is intimately linked to the brain.
... and on Mindfulness
Traditional methods of brewing tea typically involve a succession of steepings from the same tea leaves. This means that over a single tea session, the flavors, aromas, and impressions evolve from batch-to-batch. As a result, drinking tea becomes a dynamic process that draws one ever back to the novelty of each and every moment. Meanwhile, the attention paid to the brewing process itself only serves to heighten this present-mindedness.
Drinking tea in this way creates the perfect conditions for mindfulness, and almost always leaves one feeling much more at ease than when they began. There is nothing left to do, nothing to wait for, no instructions to uphold, and no training required – tea guides the way to a place of calm without effort. Little wonder, then, that Buddhist monks have been revering tea in this way for centuries! It is also for this reason that tea facilitates connection and friendship so well; when people are present – and able to sip some tea before speaking – they end up listening much, much more deeply. Northeast Tea House aims to make this remarkable and satisfying relationship with tea (and, by extension, with each other) easily accessible to all by providing a space specifically designed around the mindful appreciation of tea.