The First Tea Shaman

images-2Twelve hundred years ago, Lu Yu wrote the first book on tea. It would be nice to get a copy, but the hardback goes for hundreds of dollars. I find it strange the first book on the art of tea is out-of-print in this country.

No matter, I’m on a mission to invent a new tea ceremony, one that blends elements from all cultures to create a hybrid ceremony capable of resonating everywhere, as well as producing the greatest-tasting tea while promoting herbalized hydration, which is good for the body and soul.

Of course, the Japanese are considered the masters of tea today, probably followed by the English or maybe the Koreans? But it all started with Lu Yu in China. He was an orphan and rebellious as a teenager, but became the first person in the world to recognize the amazing properties of brewing fresh tea.

While you may think some of the elements and gestures and tools used in Japanese tea ceremonies today have no real function, in fact, Dr. Andrew Stapley of the Royal Society of Chemistry proved that ritualized swirling hot water into the pot and synching some actions actually did have chemical functions for improving the taste of the tea. One point the professor was very clear on: never add milk to hot tea, but always put cold milk in the cup first and then poor your hot tea over it.

I’d like to manufacture some glass teapots of the highest quality for brewing tea and etch some sigils on their sides. Of course water is absolutely key. According to Lu Yu, water freshly drawn from a fast moving high-mountain stream works best. I don’t have that nearby and after looking at my options, I’ve concluded Eldorado water from Colorado may be my best option. When I build my Shaman Shop, I want a large selection of bottled waters, preferably in glass bottles. I really don’t want anything plastic. I’ll need to do a lot of testing to find out which is really the best water for drinking, tea brewing and putting into high-end bongs, because those will probably be three different waters.

One water I really love is Gerolsteiner Mineral Water, which comes from my ancestral homeland, Germany. But while mineral water is great for drinking and may be good for bongs, it’s terrible for tea because the minerals make the tea taste metallic. You have to find a pH neutral water, which Eldorado just happens to be.

Author: Steven Hager

I'm a writer, journalist, filmmaker and event producer.

4 thoughts on “The First Tea Shaman”

  1. Not including India and turkey and instead including the slave masters as ‘tea culture’ is odd.

    1. Like India and Turkey never had slaves? I include England because their high tea ceremony, although much different from the Japanese version, still is an elaborate ritual and something I have personally experienced. I’m anxious to learn anything I can from any culture, however. And, but the way, I avoid putting cultures in any particular order of greatness or smallness, as they all bring something to the table.

  2. I never was a big tea drinker, but my girlfriend is. When we got together, 10 years ago, she was looking for a good teapot. That year was also my first Cannabis Cup and I wanted to bring her back something nice from Amsterdam. While window shopping, I found a beautiful blue teapot of delft, the hand-painted Dutch porcelain. We use this teapot and the cups and saucers that go along with it every Sunday morning. In my limited view, this is the perfect teapot. It is balanced just right and it pours perfectly. Never a drip. It holds a gracious plenty and is a joy to behold. We use a tea cozy to keep the tea piping hot throughout the ceremony, (breakfast) and it never fails to perform.

    Cathy drinks all kinds of tea. My preference is Harney’s loose leaf Earl Gray. We use water from the West Shelby County Water District.

    I have to say that sharing a cup of tea with someone you love is one of life’s great pleasures.

    1. Lu Yu preferred ceramics as well, but I like a nice clear glass teapot and use it mostly for herbal tea and English Breakfast when I don’t want my morning coffee. But I’m studying up on tea. Did you know should should only steep the leaves for five minutes? Longer and you start picking up unpleasant tasting tannins. Warming the pot and the cup(s) in advance is an important ritual for some it seems. The cosy idea, now that has me thinking…..cosy with sigils…?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s