Today is Columbus, Ohio’s bicentennial birthday and earlier this year I felt it was appropriate to make a chai to celebrate that. There are so many ideas of what chai should be, traditionally and new-fangled, and so many concentrates on the market influencing the public perception with ideas of sweet, spicy, creamy..er…sweet.
The name I chose to wear on here was even influenced by this: Kashyap the mythological ancient sage who was attributed to have written a classic reference book on Ayuvedic medicine and whose name was borrowed for the region of Kashmir – a source of green tea and almond infused chai. Darjeeling is also named after lightning- making all sort of visuals pop into the mind. My first chai blends were named Bihu or celebration and often paired with lightning crashes, so it’s only appropriate to note its influence on Ohio Thunder Chai.
I’m also a big Valentine’s day softy…so when we put together a Valentine’s day promotion…snuggled up to Jasmine pearls and Magnolia oolong, went the Ohio Thunder Chai.
I started this morning on this cup and really I’ve been sharing with friends for weeks, for those who have tried it or even smelled it have fallen in love with the sweet, spicy, slightly fruity complexity. One of the unique aspects is the base leaf, one of the hands-down largest leaves I’ve ever seen, cupped, or handled out of Ceylon; this characteristic makes it a perfect palate as it seem impervious to over-steeping and handles the long extractions that are needed to get the denser clove, cinnamon, and cardamom to pop and develop complexity.
In my musing over this tea during breakfast I was reading a passage by Baisao – the old tea seller and I thought it was a suitable passage to meditation on while drinking a cup of fruity, spicy chai:
Brewing Tea in a forest of Red Maples
White clouds, Crimson Trees,
here I am selling the spring;
if you enter an autumn forest
and enjoy the flowers of spring
sleep demons lower their banners
beat an abject retreat
pure breeze covers the earth
keeping defilements at bay
I also feel the Valentine’s day spirit asks me to share:
a zen master once was asked what is the nature of
beauty and he replied:
“beauty is that which is unrepeatable”….
and like love…so is a cup of tea…namaste