tea poem: a shared tea ritual

Imperial Tea Court068.JPG

There are three primary tea traditions that influence Western society at present: Chinese (including Taiwanese), Japanese, and British.  From these, other tea traditions have emerged, including Moorish, Persian, Russian and Indian, and what I call “fusion tea”, which is the creation of a tea experience that might borrow from traditional tea cultures, but ultimately offers its own unique expression of tea or tea rites, rituals and customs. When you create your own tea ritual, you may want to borrow aspects of traditional tea rituals practiced by Chinese, Japanese, British, or any other tea culture.

Here is A SHARED TEA RITUAL, which you can “practice” with a friend:

Tea Poem Ritual:

•    Invite a creative friend to tea.  Tell him or her that you are going to create a tea poem together.
•    Provide a special piece of paper, maybe Japanese rice paper or a watercolor paper.
•    Put the paper and one colored pen on the table in your designated “tearoom”.  (This can be in your kitchen or dining room, or on the floor of a sunroom or even in an office.
•    Bring your favorite tea to the table and make whatever kind of tea you would like to have. Pour (or whisk, if Japanese matcha tea) a cup or bowl of tea for yourself and for your friend.
•    Enjoy a first sip of tea together. Invite your guest to write the title of the poem on the paper provided.  This means your guest begins the poem.
•    Have your guest then hand the paper to you. You will take a sip of tea and then write the first line of the poem.  Return the paper to your friend.
•    Continue to take turns writing a line of the poem, one after the other, until you have decided that your poem or your tea is finished.  Give the poem to your guest as a gift, along with a small bag of the tea that you shared with him or her.