Tea time! Tea time! When is the best time for tea? At our Barcelona Teahouse the topic of when is the best time for a particular tea comes up pretty often. While it is true that some teas are better suited for the day and others for the night, I don’t think you should say something like red teas are best during the day and white teas at night. The range of both these (and all) categories encompass teas that could fall into either day or night category.
What’s more, the issue is not clear cut, it really depends on the person, their body/mind constitution that day, personal issues and certainly the way the tea is prepared and taken. I find that when drinking tea at night in a calm, ceremonial setting its rare for somebody to have a poor night’s sleep because you’ve relaxed so much during the silent meditative ritual. That’s not to say some teas aren’t more appropriate than others but it really depends on your individual circumstances.
Sometimes the fear alone of not being able to sleep is conducive to that very real subsequent manifestation of our fears. If in fact you find you can’t sleep one day and you’ve had tea that evening, make use of it and approach your creativity with an open mind!
You could however look at tea from a seasonal perspective. Not as in seasonal produce (although that can factor as well) but from a Chinese medicine perspective regarding yin/yang and our body constitutions and needs. You could say that white, yellow, green, lightly oxidized oolong and young sheng puerh are more appropriate for Spring and Summer and heavily oxidized and roasted oolong, red, black and aged teas are better for Fall and Winter. Of course, here exceptions are bountiful as well, not just because of differences amongst teas in each category but because of our own inner yin/yang balances and imbalances. However, if we are aware of our yin/yang deficiencies we could use tea to help balance us in accord with the seasons.
Other important aspects are our environment, setting, company and plan for the day. An inspiring location, special friends, important conversation, a moment of solace and introspection, a creative endeavour etc… these are all invitations for a great tea session, a great experience, a future memory.
In China there’s a famous saying “Zen and Tea, One Flavor”. This refers to the essence of tea and meditation. They both have the same essence: Calm and awake. Presence. If you are too calm, you sleep. Tea is a bridge to that balance of being present, in both its preparation and its effect on our bodies. I encourage people to bring tea into their lives on a daily basis. Bring it to their workplace. Bring it into their creative pursuits. Inspiration is just a cup away. Artists will be the first to tell you how tea can be their muse. And in the workplace, many will acknowledge how people are more efficient when they drink tea. It is a gentle stimulant. It enhances our mood, it helps us concentrate, it’s exotic and inspiring, and of course it tastes and smells wonderful!
Ultimately, at Caj Chai Barcelona Teahouse when we think of the best time for tea we think of what is the best tea for a particular person at a particular time. We take into account their mood, the season, the time of day and most importantly… never shun our intuition! Cultivating this practice is one of the most satisfying aspects of our profession! It is sheer joy to witness when our recommendations are spot on, opening a door, a new perspective, a discovery, pleasing and satisfying our customers, friends and families!
photo by alexandra chistova (instagram @analogphotobcn)