“Perfection is everywhere if we only choose to recognise it.”
A fellow teastagrammer (ahhhh, internet) recently posed a question:
Does perfection exist?
A simple and complicated question.
The answer relies on your definition of perfection.
The oldest known definition came from Aristotle.
That is perfect –
1. which is complete — which contains all the requisite parts
2. which is so good that nothing of the kind could be better
3. which has attained its purpose
So is perfection quantifiable, or is it a matter of perception? Who defines what is perfect and what is not?
A skilled taste-tester can break down a cup of tea to its sensory components. They can analyse appearance, scent, flavour, bitterness/sweetness and then rate tea according to criteria in a quantifiable manner. A scientist can analyse the chemical components of the tea, match them against taste preference and give the composition of the most preferred brew. For the matter of science, perfection technically exists and could be found according to designated parameters.
But for tea-lovers, tea is more than a beverage. It’s a salve. Tea is a beverage which not only quenches thirst, but dissipates sorrow – Chang loo. It can riot or calm your emotions. It can help you find peace in solitude or a means for conversation and warmth with others. Tea is a long-believed panacea for the soul.
So what is the perfect cup of tea? Is there a strict definition or is it fluid, according to the individual or experience? Is perfection, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder?
Perhaps the most salient question is: How you define a cup of tea – is it a beverage or an experience?
What is your perfect tea experience?
Does it involve fine china, tiers of petit fours and cucumber sandwiches, and black tea so strong it could knock the plaid socks off an English aristocrat? Or does it involve a chawan of delicate Keemun, sipped while on mountaintop at the end of a soul-searching journey? Perhaps your perfect cup of tea involves a complete Japanese matcha ceremony with precise and thoughtful movements representational of The Way of Tea. Or maybe for you, perfection is simply your favourite bucket-proportioned mug of hot water with a teabag still in, milk and three sugars, served with a scotch finger bickie, a morning paper and SILENCE.
So what is a perfect cup of tea to me?
Perfection is a cup of tea that suits the moment and the mood. From being served the nostalgic, generic bag tea with a bickie and a belly-laugh at an old friend’s house, to organised tea and food-matched culinary experiences. There are many perfect tea moments, and not because they are perfection, but because they fill you with joy and contentment. Those types of experiences that leave you feeling “That’s just what I needed.”.
But you can also seek out perfection in moments. Whether it be the trickle of tea from the pot, clouding and swirling of milk in a teacup, the warmth in your hands. To enjoy tea is to to be mindful and appreciate the small things. It helps you slow the world so that you might marvel in its perfection, as imperfect as the world might be.
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. – Thich Nat Hahn.
There is something about tea ritual that makes me feel looked after. One of the reasons I love my favourite tea house is because the owner will come around and refill your cup with your pot for you. Such a simple gesture which feels so personal.
When a friend makes you tea it is a wholly welcoming experience. And when a friend GIVES you tea or teawares, WELL. That makes me feel particularly special!
Teaview: Green Valley Spices – Chocolate Treasure and Chai Masala
Last Christmas a gorgeous friend of mine gifted me this feminine and calming Maxwell Williams, Cashmere Charming Bluebells teacup and saucer. Isn’t she lovely? I particularly admire the printing inside of the cup. How can you not feel special drinking tea from this lovely set, so thoughtfully chosen for me? I shall call her “Belle”.
Along with it came some tea sourced from a favourite spice place, Green Valley Spices.
That’s right, you can see and actual piece of chocolate in there! As you might imagine, this brew is delectably chocolatey, but not so much as to try to imitate a hot chocolate. It is first and foremost tea, but the chocolate is there. Curiosity killed the caffeinated cat when I took a bite of one of the chocolate pieces… TEEEAAA!!! So strong! Haha, best to let it steep. 😉
As you can see, this blend has no shortage of real ingredients!
To do this brew justice I feel that it really should be brewed with milk on the stove, but in the interest of bloggin them both in one go I had to go water and milk.
This tea was spicy but not heavy in the way you might think. It was lively, and disappeared from my cup too quickly.
By the way, did you notice the pretty hand fan thrown in there?
A gift from a different but equally gorgeous friend, Emma, who thoughtfully brought it back from Japan for my collection. Lovely, isn’t it?