The pleasure of attentively brewing and drinking tea never fails to evoke a feeling of bliss and calm. That effect is – as you will learn in the course of one my tea seminars – for a large part induced by the tea plant’s content of theanine, an amino acid associated by neurochemistry studies with states of relaxation and resilience toward stress.
Tea, as a beverage, is water flavoured with the naturally occurring aromas extracted from the tea plant (more accurately: several closely related plants from the Thea subgenus and section of the genus Camellia – most prominently in its cultivated forms of Camellia sinensis var sinensis and var assamica). Consequently, despite the fact that tea brewing is often associated with accurate steeping times and exact temperatures, one the most important factors for the perfect cup of tea is actually: good water.
All the accessories you need to set out for your own way of drinking tea are a small or a medium-sized brewing pot and a tea cup or bowl. Though some people prefer the use of a thermometer and a timer at first, over time you will develop an instinctive feeling for the amount of leaves, water temperature and steeping time that best suit your personal taste.
In time, you will learn a lot about tea by just attentively brewing and experimenting. However: it won’t do any harm to learn about some tea basics in a tea seminar before jumping right into tea drinking.