After seeing an article saying that a machine worth 40,000 $ was able to make the perfect pot of tea, I wondered what a perfect pot of tea.
This question came back to haunt me while I was having a cup of tea with @Chakaiclub (check her website, even if it is for now only in French and for France).
“What is a perfect pot of tea? Or rather what is a perfect cup of tea?” This question came back again and again into me as if it was asking me to find an answer.
A first obvious answer is that it had to do something with tea ceremony as I had defined them in a previous post ”For this post, I will define it as a sort of tea ritual, as an unique way of making and drinking tea over and over again”.
After all, if you do something in an unique way over and over, it must be the way to do, which means that if you look at the different tea ceremonies be they British, Chinese, German (yes I know I have offended the most traditionalists here be it is also a tea ceremony) or Japanese or … you will find quite easily what is a perfect cup of tea.
For the British one, the method is quite easy and was defined in 2003 by the Royal Society of Chemistry (see there).
If I oversimplify things (and once again I am sorry for the most traditionalist readers), one of the Chinese tea ceremony Gongfu cha or “”making tea with effort” like the Japanese tea of ceremony or “the way of the tea” are ritualised ways of preparing tea in order to make a tea that taste good but also as a way to enlighten your soul directly or indirectly (through others).
As such, they follow elaborate rules to really get the best of a cup of tea.
As for the German tea ceremony, I described it here (with a video) and it is the way to make the perfect German cup of tea.
If you look at it, you will see that every country/tradition thinks it has an unique way of making tea that is is so good that nothing else could be better.
The problem being that they don’t do it the same way and that depending on your tastes, you might find the results a little bit disappointing or not suiting them, which is somehow a paradox as if its results is a perfect cup of tea, there is no way you could be disappointed.
Or it could be worse and you could thinking that the way you make your tea is what makes your cup of tea perfect for you.
And this is when I was struck by the obvious.
The answer was not in the cup but in philosophy and in Aristotle who wrote that is perfect which is so good that nothing of the kind could be better but also which has attained its purpose.
The purpose here is to drink a tea that suits your taste and to make the best of what you have used to do it. So you can use whatever method, technique… that you prefer for making your tea as long as it enlightens your, makes you feel better and brightens your day turning a “normal” cup of tea into the perfect one.
Don’t get me wrong, I do know that to make a good cup of tea, good ingredients are needed turning it into an even more enjoyable experience but what I wanted to point out here is the relativity of “perfection” and that we should all make our tea the way we like it and be open-minded and curious about how other people make their perfect cup of tea.