In ancient times, Lu Yu, respected sage and author of The Classic of Tea, would say that the best water for brewing tea came from the centre of a swiftly flowing mountain spring. Lu Yu often went into the countryside to gather tea leaves and herbs. One day, he came upon a spring underneath a rock where the water was exceptionally clear and clean. When he brewed tea with this spring water, the tea tasted wonderful! From then on, Lu Yu recognised the importance of quality water in brewing tea.
Today we know that the pH of water significantly affects the taste of tea. Anything over 7, and the water is too mineralised and hard, making a poor cup of tea, as will chlorinated tap water.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TEA INGREDIENT THAT EVERYONE FORGETS
While of course the quality of the tea is hugely importance, we’re not alone in believing that the quality of the water you use to make tea is just as important. Jessica Bonin, owner of Lady Bonin’s Tea says:
“Tea absorbs its environment in layers and releases its flavour in layers. Every single element along the way determines the outcome. The most important ingredient is water. It is the foundation that creates the chemistry which results in the flavour. If you have good water, you have good tea. Therefore, you have to choose your water wisely.”
While few of us have the privilege of access to a mountain spring, we can offer something just as good! KURO-Bō’s 100% natural activated charcoal water filters balance the pH of acidic water giving it a clean, delicious taste just right for making the perfect cup of tea.
THE HEART OF TEA
There’s something undeniably friendly about having a cup of tea. Apart from the warmth, comfort and flavour of a good cuppa, there’s a conviviality that drinking tea together creates. A meeting of minds. A joining of hearts. Enjoying a cup of tea with others seems to connect us more deeply, a community of friends grows warm around a pot of tea.
It’s clearly not as easy as grabbing any cup, any water and any tea bag though….
THE ART OF TEA
Of course the ancient Japanese knew a thing or two about tea too. Jessica Bonin has studied this in depth and shares her knowledge with us. She tells us that:
“At the heart of Japanese Tea is Wabi – The Way, more specifically Wabi Cha – The Way of Tea. The principle of ‘harmony’ is a Zen concept which is attained when we experience life with all our senses. This means being present, and it means being present to others. In the Japanese Tea ceremony we are reminded that all are equal in the house of tea. In this way tea connects us to others in harmony, like water flowing through the landscape, we become one with our environment knowing we are not separate from it. Tea is more than a beverage, it is a state of being.”
Around the world, whether in India, Tibet, Turkey, Morocco, Argentina, England or here in South Africa, offering guests tea is simple hospitality in a cup. While there’s certainly an art to making tea, at the centre of drinking tea together there’s sociability – the heart of tea.
TEA FOR AFRICA
Africa has an incredible indigenous botanical heritage when it comes to tea, its most famous of course being the Western Cape’s Rooibos followed by Honeybush and Buchu. As we’ve said, the quality of water is so important in bringing out the best taste of tea, so we love the idea of a Japanese-South African fusion – combining ancient Japanese water filter technology with teas that have been known and used for centuries by South Africa’s indigenous Khoi and San cultures.
Jessica Bonin explains how rooibos and honeybush teas can be seen as a symbol of connectivity and community between family, friends and strangers alike.
“Our Rooibos and Honeybush teas are unique to the Western and some parts of the Eastern Cape because they are part of a biome. They are legumes which means they have nodules on their root systems that convert nitrogen in the air to a usable substance in the soil. They do this not for themselves but as a benefit to the plants around them.
When attempts have been made to cultivate these teas elsewhere, these root systems and nodules shrink. It is as a result of plants like Rooibos and Honeybush that fynbos regrows after fires. It is from the nitrogen they pump into the soil. Because of this symbiosis, Rooibos, Honeybush and Buchu cannot grow anywhere outside of their biome, not even in a green house across the world.”
Make locally produced tea even better with fresh, delicious KURO-Bō organically purified water for the best tasting home-grown tea around.
#GIVEAWAY: TIME FOR A TEA-PARTY!
We’ve got a stunning giveaway this month worth a total of nearly R2,400 that’s guaranteed to make your next tea party rock!
Lady Bonin’s Tea has generously contributed a wonderful combination of special Japanese teas and her own South African blends. [TOTAL VALUE: R525]
Sencha (Shade grown Japanese Green Tea)
Genmaicha (Japanese Green Tea + Toasted Brown Rice)
Moulin Rouge (Rooibos Blend)
African Delight (Honeybush Blend)
Harmony (Buchu Blend)
For a great cup of tea, apart from quality tea and water, the last critical ‘ingredient’ is to serve tea from beautiful ceramic cups. With this in mind, Setamono Tableware has also very generously provided an exquisite Sachio Japanese Tea Set [TOTAL VALUE: R690].
The black stoneware teapot and cups are finished in a glossy, speckled black glaze. The teapot has a wooden handle wrapped in wicker to maintain a better a grip. The cups have a contrasting speckled cappuccino rim and the whole set is crafted in the style of limited edition artisan Japanese ceramics. The set comes in a stunning authentic gift box.
Finally, to give you the very best quality naturally purified water for your next cup of artisan tea, we’re also giving away a KURO-Bō Gō-Ecō Home Hamper. [TOTAL VALUE: R1,170]
1 x 6l 100% Recycled Glass Dispenser – for your kitchen counter
2 x KURO-Bō Activated Charcoal Organic Water Filter Sticks – offering 3-6 months of naturally purfied, mineralised and pH-balanced water
BUT OF COURSE, YOU HAVE TO BE IN IT TO WIN IT…
All you need to do is like all 3 pages on Facebook or Instagram, enter your email address via the competition link HERE – http://bit.do/eQuPp – …and share, share, share… and then you just need to send out those invitations to tea!