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A Bowl of Matcha Would Be Really Great Right Now

By Dana Velden Mar 6, 2018

A Bowl of Matcha Would Be Really Great Right Now



It can begin under any number of situations: nodding over my laptop at 2:00pm, watering the plants in the cool of the morning, or hunkered in on a rainy afternoon, reading a book from cover to cover. Maybe I’m sitting in my car, stuck in an unexpected slowdown, or shifting impatiently as I watch a terrible movie in the theater. Or perhaps a friend has stopped over and I want to keep the conversation going. There are countless circumstances in which the first whisperings of the thought ‘a cup of tea would be really great right now’ can start to emerge.


Why tea, why this impulse? Because tea is an excellent response to so many of life’s situations, be it agitation or celebration or sleepiness. Tea can soothe and it can energize. It can act as a distraction from unpleasantness, interrupt boredom, or enliven and enhance a situation. Its pleasures are simple and immediate: warmth in winter; coolness in summer. Tea civilizes.


Don’t get me wrong, coffee is great, but coffee can be a little too “foot on the gas” sometimes. Tea can also energize, of course, but at the same time it can pivot to a more contemplative vibe that is often a closer match to my circumstances. And matcha, with its not-too-jangly balance of caffeine and L-theanine, is especially well-suited for when I need to be alert and engaged but not roaring at full-throttle.


Perhaps my favorite reason for keeping my home well-stocked with tea, and matcha in particular, is that it encourages conviviality and intimacy. Putting the kettle on is often my first response to guests, expected or unexpected. Far more than throwing a tea bag into a mug of hot water, preparing a bowl of matcha signals a certain level of caring and attention that sets the right tone, whether we’re celebrating good fortune or need to sit down for a more serious discussion. And tea prolongs the moment, for those times when you know you should go but you’d rather linger just a little longer, to finish a conversation or just appreciate the presence of another.


So it’s no wonder that the thought of tea is a regularly occurring thought in my brain, a deep groove formed of habit and a predilection for comfort and pleasure. Some afternoons, it can take two or three nudges to get me off the couch and into the kitchen and on others, I’m filling the kettle before the thought of tea has even been completed in my mind. How about you? What circumstances bring the thought of tea to mind? How often do you find yourself thinking: a bowl of matcha would be really great right now?

Dana Velden is a Zen priest who lived and studied for 15 years at the San Fransisco Zen Center. Dana is the author of Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook (Rodale). She has been writing for The Kitchn since 2008, and has contributed to “The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women” and “The Kitchen Cookbook”. She lives in Oakland, CA.