When Tea Called My Name

It was the first workweek of January 2014. I was preparing a tumbler of tea for the office from a pack of loose leaf a friend gifted me the previous Christmas. Before that day, I’ve only had tea bags from the grocery aisles and couldn’t tell the difference among the types if my life depended on it. I remember I read the steeping instructions first then proceeded to steep tea and my whole attention was drawn to it. That particular moment was indelibly etched in my memory because it was at that very instance that I was re-introduced to myself, I re-discovered the person I was before I became a wife and a mother. It was essentially a return to myself.

Then the world seemed to be on slow-mo while I was making tea; slowly, I was pulled into that moment-to-moment cadence that my mind was set free from the usual clutters of rumination that plague modern society. I was simply there, simply present: I was boiling the water then poured it into the teapot, after which I was scooping the recommended amount of tea leaves for steeping, then setting the timer to its required brewing time and voila, it was ready. The picture is as vivid as it was back then. It was like nothing mattered but the tea and when I drank it, an immediate flush of exhilaration washed over me and I knew I found something worth keeping. Amid the chaos of the urban jungle, I was rejuvenated by a single cup of tea.

Photography © Jory Rivera

At that point in my life, I was raising two grade schoolers who were in second and third grades and I could sense I was approaching the peak of my stress threshold. My day would start with me frantic; getting up early to prepare the girls to school; driving them to school then I’d be driving two to three hours to work, collect more sources of my stress along the way e.g. traffic, floods, rude drivers etc, spend the day at work, drive home in the same amount of time I spent going there and come home to my girls already asleep in their beds. After I discovered the habit of tea drinking, I became relatively calmer and it helped me navigate the daily stressors. But the reality that my girls were growing up and I’m only able to spend two harried hours with them on weekdays I realized was not a bargain I was willing to trade.

In the embrace of Camellia sinensis

In September of the same year, I submitted my resignation even though I had no work prospects but while planning my next move, I stumbled upon Youtube videos of blooming flower teas. I was curious & intrigued, and completely blown away that something so beautiful and magical can be medicinal as well. I went deep-diving into the world of tea reading everything I can get hold of about the products and discovered a wonderful world that is at least 5,000 years old. Two months later I launched what would become the first online tea shop in the country and weeks of late night (up to 3AM!) readings just became worth every second.

Two months ago, we reached our third-year milestone (yay!). I also got my certification as a Tea Sommelier and I feel blessed that I get to enjoy what I do. I intend to spend the rest of my life learning more about it and continue to share the virtues and magical qualities of the humble tea leaf.TMSHE_9546So folks, when tea called my name I had to answer its call and I hope that the 4-year gap of entries in this blog has been bridged. How about you? Have you found your life’s passion? Do share! 🙂