Tea + Affirmations: Pu-erh (time keeps on tickin’)

08/28/2012

My 8-year old, Cricket, the younger of The Baby Kittens, has no idea of today’s date. She also doesn’t know what time it is right now. Not because she can’t tell time, or effectively read a calendar. She just doesn’t care enough to know how and where she fits into this large construct that we call Time. When I tell her it’s time to get up for school, she gets up and gets moving. When it’s play time, I tell her to come back inside for dinner in 15 minutes. She comes back in 45 minutes.

The other day, her older sister, Honey exclaimed, “I can’t wait until tomorrow!”

“Why not? What’s happening tomorrow?” Cricket asks.

“Tomorrow is a teacher work day. No school tomorrow, duh?!” Honey replies looking at her sister as if she’s from another planet.

“Oh, okay,” Cricket says, and goes about her business.

Cricket stays in the present with nary a thought of what tomorrow has to hold. I want to be like that. Which brings me to Brahmamuhurta, and pu-erh tea.

Brahmamuhurta is the name for the early hours of each day, typically from 3am to 6am. These hours are said to be the best time for meditation, prayer and study because at this time, your world is typically asleep quiet and serene. One doesn’t feel like one is missing out on the things that typically keep us busy and distracted during the hours of daylight.

The healthy person should get up (from bed) during brahma muhurta, to protect his life.  ~Astanga Hrdayam, Vol.I, 2:1

That struck a chord with me. Maybe I could truly slow down and enjoy the moment if I felt like the pause button had been pressed for all the other things going on around me. The thought of sitting down and reading a good book and sipping a cup of tea without being interrupted every five minutes sounded divine. Now I’m not saying I’ll be up at 3am feeling Zen-ified and what not. But maybe I could rise at 5:15 (45 minutes earlier) and enjoy some Me-time. Plus, I found a new tea that I’m wild about.

pu-erh tea Pu-erh tea is produced in the province of Yunnan in China, and is known as the world’s finest tea, and the ancestor of all teas that exist today. Pu-erh tea has a cult-like following and is considered a way of life by those who enjoy it. Although pu-erh tea is processed in many ways, it’s most celebrated in its fermented state, and consumed after it has aged for several years. I love the pageantry of this, but it gets even better. Pu-erh tea has been found to regulate body weight, and is loaded with polyphenols that can attack free radicals leading to signs of aging.

The traditional Chinese method of preparing pu-erh tea is pretty involved, so like a typical lazy American, I prepared mine using this Western method (images and directions via Teavivre.com):

  1. Choose the Pu-erh tea you would like to brew and place it in your teapot.
  2. After rinsing the leaves once with hot water for a few seconds then discarding the water, as mentioned above to rid the tea of any impurities, add hot water to brew the leaves in.
  3. Fresh spring water or purified water is the best choice, and the hotter the temperature of the water, the stronger the resulting brew will become, so you can control the resulting tea’s flavor and depth.
  4. Brew your Pu-erh tea for approximately 2 minutes, then serve as desired.

Unsweetened, pu-erh tea tastes a little like licorice. I added a teaspoon of  agave nectar and it was very enjoyable. I didn’t get the same pick-me-up as I do with coffee, but I was pleasantly alert this morning after finishing a cup. I even lost track of time and realized that I was late getting the girls up for school.

Cricket would be proud.

Have you ever tried pu-erh tea? What is your favorite tea?