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How is tea appreciation related to mental well-being?

By Annabelle Mor-Codali
Drinking tea is one of my favourite things to do. As a person growing up my mother would give it to us especially in the cold winter months. However, I have always thought of it as another beverage and nothing extraordinary, but when I spoke to Xenia Duarte she spoke about the different blends and how she made her own tea bags and I was hooked. Therefore, I thought well I am sure many people would also be interested in enhancing their knowledge on tea appreciation, especially herbal teas. Therefore, the Gibraltar Horticultural Society decided to host an afternoon of learning about the process of making tea including making their own blend and taking their own tea bags home to enjoy.

The event was hosted at the beautiful Barbary restaurant at the Sunborn and was followed by tea/coffees and cakes. Xenia was a delightful speaker explaining the simple process of drying your own herbs and brewing it at home. Special congratulations have to go to Xenia for having achieved a Diploma in Herbology from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh just in time to give the talk.

As a person who is outgoing and enjoys communicating with others in daily life, sitting down and enjoying the process of making tea, really allows my heart to be at peace (at least sometimes). So you may wonder, how does brewing and appreciating tea help to calm the mind?

Brewing tea is a form of meditation and calms us down

Brewing tea allows us to calm down and focus on the making of the tea. Just like meditation or mindfulness, soothing our mind, it allows a person to fill oneself with calmness —which is very much needed in our fast-paced city life in Gibraltar. When we brew tea, it is ideal for the tea maker as well as guests to be in a quiet environment although this might be difficult in work environments, in order to focus on the brewing of the tea and not be distracted by the external surroundings. These activities allow us to relieve our stress and enjoy the peace at heart, which often allows us to regain energy and continue our work effectively.

Learn to be more observant and pay more attention to the surroundings

During making the tea blend that Xenia chose for us we use our senses to the utmost to distinguish different colours, smells and scents of tea. The tea blend Sweet Surrender Infusion by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe included spearmint, peppermint, blue malva, rose, lemon balm and chamomile but some participants decided to use different quantities to suit their own palette. We often overlook small details in our daily lives, yet through making tea this way you learn to observe different details and pause our busyness, and learn not to miss elements which we should have paid more attention to in our lives.

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