Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

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Mindfulness and the Art of Chai

I enjoy making chai from scratch.  I can control the sweetness and my choices of flavors far better than the syrupy cups served  up by the green mermaid coffee house or from the shelf-stable boxes of concentrate you can buy at the supermarket.   No, I make mine at home.

Chai is not something I slap together in the morning.  There is not enough time to do it right.  In the morning, I pop a k-cup in the machine and pump out a cup of coffee rocket fuel.    Chai-making is something I do slow and with great attention in the evenings or on the weekends.

My formula is comprised of cardamom pods, black peppercorns, whole cloves, fresh ginger and Ceylon cinnamon bark that I smash and crack with a stone mortar and pestle.  The tea is a dark rich Assam.  Strong black tea is essential.  No timid Earl Grey or green tea will cut it.   The spices and tea, along with a bit of coconut palm sugar, are added to a small pan of boiling water and then allowed to steep on a low flame for several minutes.   The longer the steep, the more developed the flavors.  Finally, I add whole milk until the concoction is an orangey tan, bring it back to a boil, then pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a serving cup.

The process is slow, slow, slow.   And I sip it accordingly.

I came across a video this morning that exactly illustrates the process and the practice.


The Art of Making Tea

My gaiwan

I am on a new kick: taking a tea set in a travel bag and having a slow quiet tea (or tea party with others) outside the house.

Here are the essentials implements for travel tea:

• Thermos of hot water
Gaiwan under 200 ml (bowl with lid)
• Decanter or pitcher
• Tea cups less than 100 ml
• Cloths
• Waste water container (perforated water tray or a bowl)
• Strainer
• Tongs (spoon for dry tea, tongs for moving hot cups)
• Tin for loose tea
• Paper towels
• Insulated carrying bag

Here is the process. This is not a ceremony like a formal Japanese Tea Ceremony where each item and each movement are infused with spiritual meaning. No, this is just a very practical way of conducting a tea service to maximize the enjoyment of sipping tea.

• Set implements on tray
• Heat cups, gaiwan, and decanter with hot water.
• Pour out waste water
• Use scoop to add leaves to gaiwan
• Pour a little hot water over leaves to rinse.
• Pour out waste water. Use strainer.
• Add more water to gaiwan and let brew for about a minutes.
• Pour into decanter. Use strainer.
• Pour into cups.
• Use tongs to move around hot cups
• Dry out the implements with paper towels.
• Wash everything when home.

Here is a visual demonstration of the process at home (not traveling) but it is the same process and she is using a water tray to collect the waste water:

ljgloyd 2022