A few things to consider before starting Tea Ceremony and Meditation:
1) If you are new to Tea:
Puerh is very good to start with, it is easily accessible. Try Sheng Puerh, Aged Puerh and Shou Puerh, experience the differences and which one you like.
I suggest selecting at least one Tea with very strong Qi (Aged Puerh is best, Heart Awakening is a great year-round choice), even if it seems expensive.
It’s very important to first get a connection to Tea to have tea that will help you seeing what’s this really about, later you will have more experience to choose which quality of tea is right for you.
2) Time of the day and how sensitive you are to caffeine/teaine:
The only tea that tends to have very little caffeine is the one that’s very aged, 1990s/1980s of earlier, although this tea tends to be very rare and expensive
A good amount of caffeine is flushed out in the first steeping which we don’t drink.
With that said, some teas like GABA oolong or shou puerh or our 1990s Instant Peace can feel energetically calming and some people have them in the late afternoon or evening with no problems for sleep.
3) Do you tend to run hot or cold?
In general tea that produces lighter coloured liquid (white, green, oolong, raw puerh that’s not aged) is cooling, while darker tea (black tea, shou and aged puerh, dark tea) is heating.
You will find that you have a natural preference for heating tea if you’re cold or cooling tea if you’re hot, this is also the reason why we tend to drink cooler teas in the summer and darker teas in the winter.
You will probably drink 3-5 grams of tea per session per person, so a 25g bag would last a few sessions.
With this amount of Tea you will brew the Tea many times (6-12) and the first steepings should be very quick (a few seconds), gradually becoming longer as the flavour weakens.
A standard puerh cake is 357g, though sometimes a cake is 200g or even 100g.
- Sheng (raw) Puerh
Powerful uplifting energy, often bitter
Brew at 80c to minimise bitterness, 100c for the full strength experience.
- Aged Puerh
Anywhere from 10 to even 50 or more years of age, it’s the best tea for a shamanic medicine experience, because it combines upward energy with a feeling of calm (all tea does this to various degrees, but aged puerh excels at it)
Brew at 100c
- Shou (cooked) Puerh
Brews dark brown, it’s really heating and has a calming effect
Brew at 100c
- White, green
Generally not aged, subtle upward energy
Start brewing at 80c
- Black tea
Powerful upward energy, sometimes blissful
Start brewing at 100c
Subtle upward energy when new, deep concentration when aged.
The most refined type and The tea where skill in preparation (“Gongfu Tea”) matters the most.
Brew at 90c for darker more roasted oolong, 80c for lighter oolongs
- Dark tea
The most medicinal after Puerh (Puerh itself when it ages is a form of Dark Tea).
Often needs to be boiled to get the best out of it (which requires a cauldron or way to keep a clay tea pot boiling), it’s likely you’ll be interested in Dark tea after you already know about other types of Tea
Brew at 100c or boil.
Please note that the brewing temperature refer to higher quality tea specific for Tea Ceremony, lighter (white, green, oolong) teas available on the market will often taste too bitter at those temperatures, so you can try brewing them at 20c less than what’s described above and then slowly increase the temperature if the taste is not unpleasant.
It’s always better to start brewing tea at slightly lower temperature if you’re unsure because more delicate teas can “burn” and be too bitter even in the next steepings.