The Power of Tea

I stop on jasmine green tea. This is the one I want this morning.
I stop on jasmine green tea. This is the one I want this morning.

The sound of the teakettle whistling. The smell of leaves brewing. The taste of a cup of tea. The ritual behind making a cup of tea is an art; it is also an excellent tool to evoke dreamy renditions of the past.

This morning I started my day the same way I start any day: wake up, groggily shuffle over to the teakettle, fill with water and turn on, then head over to the bathroom to brush my teeth while I wait for the water to heat. While brushing my teeth in a semi-asleep daze, the sound of the teakettle shrilling away instantly wakes me up. Now the real fun begins: I currently have about 20 different teas in my cabinet and deciding which to drink is one of my favorite parts of making a cup of tea. Do I want a full-bodied Assam, a light and floral herbal tea, a cleansing sencha? As I’m rummaging through my teas, I stop on jasmine green tea. This is the one I want this morning.

A few short minutes later, I’m stirring my freshly brewed cup, taking in the delightfully light floral scent of jasmine. I excitedly take the first sip, knowing which memory the taste will bring me back to.

One summer in my early 20s I decided I was going to go volunteer on a farm on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Being a business major on summer break from college in suburban New Jersey, this spontaneous decision couldn’t have made less sense. Not to mention that I didn’t have any experience farming or even particularly liked the outdoors at the time (I had and still have an extreme fear of all bugs). Throwing caution to the wind, as one does as a young adult, I booked my ticket and found myself on the north shore of Maui on a small flower farm.

I was terrified, wondering if I would be able to stick it out, if I would get hurt, if I would hate it. Everything was so different that it was overwhelming. In an attempt to have one thing remain constant, I bought a big box of green tea and would have 3 cups a day: morning, noon, and night. As I slowly adjusted to life on the farm, my fears melted away and turned into excitement. Some of my fondest memories in life were made that summer.

An amazing trip culminated with a road trip on Maui’s famous Road to Hana. I went with some locals I had met on the farm that wanted to show me around the island. The road trip winds past rainbow eucalyptus forests, stunning cliffs, beaches, and waterfalls. One of the stops we made was to a red sand beach where we spent the morning swimming and laying out. It was at this beach that I was first successfully able to float on my back in the water. I remember my ears dipping underwater and being able to hear the waves gently crashing and the shells scraping along the sand. It was total bliss.

Noon struck and we all were looking for lunch so we headed to a spot that was right on the water. Along with my lunch, I ordered an iced jasmine green tea, the first time I have ever had this flavor. One sip and I was in love.

Jasmine green tea tastes exactly how that day at the beach felt. It tastes like a warm, breezy, beautiful, sunny day. It tastes like a day that is spent swimming in the ocean and playing in the sand. It tastes like a day with no worries. No matter where I am or the time of year, a cup of jasmine green tea instantly brings me back. One sip, and I smell sunscreen, feel a gentle breeze blowing through my hair and sun beating down on my face.

The power a cup of tea has to make these beloved memories almost tangible is one of the many things I love about it. What incredible memories do a cup of tea transport you to?