what kind of tea is best for meditation?

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what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:11 am

i'm sure it's a precept violation in many of your opinions, or some surly think it's a hindrance to meditation or something. that's fine, maybe you're right! but this isn't a debate thread on whether it is or not, i'm just asking for other tea drinkers opinions on which tea is good. unless you have a quote from the pali canon where it literally says "caffeine/tea is a violation" (which i would be very interested too learn about. so please share if this exists!), i'm sure i've already heard whatever reasoning there is behind each side of the debate in the threads elsewhere on this site about whether or not caffeine is appropriate.


anyway, i meditate every day and a few times a week i do a full on meditation ritual where i practice lots of exercises for wakefulness and then sit with a big cup of mao feng in front of me. it keeps my mind sharp and allows me too meditate for longer. these sessions are the only time i have any caffeine at all. that way it works very well because i'm not totally used too it to the point of being able too ignore it's effects.

tea works for me, coffee or synthetic caffeine containing drinks do not at all. they either make me just have a mind full of racing thoughts or, oddly enough, i fall asleep. for some reason tea is PERFECT.

however low grade bagged tea is next too pointless for me. the mao feng i found is some really good, high caffeine, high theanine (relaxing ingredient) loose leaf, organic green tea. most bagged tea is low quality leaves and the plants may not have been healthy and so they don't have much of the good ingredients we want.

in fact i had tried many types of tea with no good results, even other high quality types didn't work, or didn't work very well, for some reason this kind is just fantastic.

i'm sure it's different for everyone though. undoubtedly many can have a cup of the cheapest bagged tea and meditate for six hours straight without feeling drowsy for a second lol! i however am not so lucky.

anyone have any recommendations?
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:25 am

Greetings,

The best kind of tea is sani-tea. 8-)

In all seriousness, there is no prohibition against tea, although those taking the precept of not eating after noon will need to be mindful to avoid milk from that point of the day onwards.

Moreso than any one type of tea being any better or worse than another, I think what would be more significant is mindfulness of the act of preparing and drinking the tea, in accordance with the instructions in the Satipatthana Sutta (or Japanese tea ceremonies, if that's your bag).

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

The best kind of tea is sani-tea. 8-)

In all seriousness, there is no prohibition against tea, although those taking the precept of not eating after noon will need to be mindful to avoid milk from that point of the day onwards.

Moreso than any one type of tea being any better or worse than another, I think what would be more significant is mindfulness of the act of preparing and drinking the tea, in accordance with the instructions in the Satipatthana Sutta (or Japanese tea ceremonies, if that's your bag).

Metta,
Retro. :)



that's a very good point i often think i should get more into the preparation of it since it has such a rich tradition! thanks.

also i'm laughing because i was so set too look up a new tea name that i read "sani-tea" as an actual tea and then thought "wait, 'sani' as in 'sanitation'???" and then finally got the joke lol!
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:24 am

Over 20 years ago I spent some months at my teacher's centre in India. Every morning I had chai as part of breakfast. It was like rocket-fuel. The combination of spices, sugar and the super-caffeinated assam tea was amazing.
These days before I go on retreat I will wean myself off all forms of caffeine. On one retreat a few years ago I had two squares of Lindt dark chocolate as part of the mid-day meal. I think as a result of the caffeine spike I was too agitated to develop any samadhi for the remainder of the day. It was an interesting and instructive experience.
In day to day life, I drink tea and coffee and often have a cup of coffee before my morning meditation.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:32 am

Ben wrote:Over 20 years ago I spent some months at my teacher's centre in India. Every morning I had chai as part of breakfast. It was like rocket-fuel. The combination of spices, sugar and the super-caffeinated assam tea was amazing.
These days before I go on retreat I will wean myself off all forms of caffeine. On one retreat a few years ago I had two squares of Lindt dark chocolate as part of the mid-day meal. I think as a result of the caffeine spike I was too agitated to develop any samadhi for the remainder of the day. It was an interesting and instructive experience.
In day to day life, I drink tea and coffee and often have a cup of coffee before my morning meditation.
kind regards,

Ben



mmm. chai! i've never meditated after drinking it but i'll give it a shot. thanks! yeah i've had too much caffeine mess with my meditation, it's hard too find a balance, however the theanine in tea seems too counter the problematic effects of caffeine, even in large doses.
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:44 am

Hi Johnny,
johnny wrote:
Ben wrote:Over 20 years ago I spent some months at my teacher's centre in India. Every morning I had chai as part of breakfast. It was like rocket-fuel. The combination of spices, sugar and the super-caffeinated assam tea was amazing.
These days before I go on retreat I will wean myself off all forms of caffeine. On one retreat a few years ago I had two squares of Lindt dark chocolate as part of the mid-day meal. I think as a result of the caffeine spike I was too agitated to develop any samadhi for the remainder of the day. It was an interesting and instructive experience.
In day to day life, I drink tea and coffee and often have a cup of coffee before my morning meditation.
kind regards,

Ben



mmm. chai! i've never meditated after drinking it but i'll give it a shot. thanks! yeah i've had too much caffeine mess with my meditation, it's hard too find a balance, however the theanine in tea seems too counter the problematic effects of caffeine, even in large doses.


I apologise if I appear to have given you encouragement to drink chai as a meditation-friendly energy drink based on my experience. I should have been explicit...Back when I was drinking chai at my teacher's centre, I got a blast from it and it seemed to improve my meditation. I really enjoyed the sudden 'blast' but it probably had more of a negative impact on my ability to stabilise samadhi than help me to temporarily to suspend the hindrance of sloth & torpor.

I still drink chai from time to time, but I only use the Goenka recipe on the very rare occassion as it leaves me feeling very jittery and strung out.
All the best,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:The best kind of tea is sani-tea. 8-)


And here I thought it was mostly about sa-tea, not to mention equanimi-tea.
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby Aloka » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:51 am

johnny wrote:
mmm. chai! i've never meditated after drinking it but i'll give it a shot. thanks! yeah i've had too much caffeine mess with my meditation, it's hard too find a balance, however the theanine in tea seems too counter the problematic effects of caffeine, even in large doses.


I don't drink chai at home, but when they have Sunday talks from August till October at Amaravati monastery, they serve it in the break between the talk and a question and answer session. Maybe it helps to revive people for the next session, after listening for about an hour on a warm afternoon soon after lunch !
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:32 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Johnny,
johnny wrote:
Ben wrote:Over 20 years ago I spent some months at my teacher's centre in India. Every morning I had chai as part of breakfast. It was like rocket-fuel. The combination of spices, sugar and the super-caffeinated assam tea was amazing.
These days before I go on retreat I will wean myself off all forms of caffeine. On one retreat a few years ago I had two squares of Lindt dark chocolate as part of the mid-day meal. I think as a result of the caffeine spike I was too agitated to develop any samadhi for the remainder of the day. It was an interesting and instructive experience.
In day to day life, I drink tea and coffee and often have a cup of coffee before my morning meditation.
kind regards,

Ben



mmm. chai! i've never meditated after drinking it but i'll give it a shot. thanks! yeah i've had too much caffeine mess with my meditation, it's hard too find a balance, however the theanine in tea seems too counter the problematic effects of caffeine, even in large doses.


I apologise if I appear to have given you encouragement to drink chai as a meditation-friendly energy drink based on my experience. I should have been explicit...Back when I was drinking chai at my teacher's centre, I got a blast from it and it seemed to improve my meditation. I really enjoyed the sudden 'blast' but it probably had more of a negative impact on my ability to stabilise samadhi than help me to temporarily to suspend the hindrance of sloth & torpor.

I still drink chai from time to time, but I only use the Goenka recipe on the very rare occassion as it leaves me feeling very jittery and strung out.
All the best,

Ben


oh, okay, so no chai. got it, thanks.
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby mynameisadahn » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:53 pm

Different tradition, but I recall something about Boddhidarma (sp) popularizing the drinking of green tea among meditators in China. Green tea has less caffeine than coffee, so it seems like a good compromise beverage to me.
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:27 pm

mynameisadahn wrote:Different tradition, but I recall something about Boddhidarma (sp) popularizing the drinking of green tea among meditators in China. Green tea has less caffeine than coffee, so it seems like a good compromise beverage to me.


the story is that bodhidharma would chew tea leaves when he fell asleep while meditating for his nine year cave meditation. another version is he dozed off and chopped off his eyelids and they fell too the ground and became the first tea bushes. fun stories! interestingly, eisai, another zen guy, is actually fairly legitimately credited with bringing/popularizing green tea too japan.

i actually found a type of green tea that has more caffeine than coffee! it's very good. and the theanine balances it out so you don't get jittery and distracted. it's possible that tea grown at the right temperature and in healthy soil with no pesticides or toxins will be higher in caffeine. or it's just that previous tests were simply testing the small amount of tea dust that's in tea bags and that has less than coffee, whereas the whole leaf and a larger helping from the same batch would have more. who knows. i read that pound for pound tea has more always than coffee but less tea is used in brewing than in brewing coffee. so if you used the same weight of tea it would have more every time. but again, this is a hodge podge of random things i have read and could all be way off lol! except that the tea i drink now has a ton of caffeine, i can personally confirm that!
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby danieLion » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:20 am

Organic loose leaf Oolongs, Puerh Tuocha (aka Bird's Nest aka Camel's Breath). Your attempt to balance caffeine and l-theanine is wise, and I think these are the best for that. Also might try Gyokuro and other premium Japanese teas.
Regards,
Daniel
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Re: what kind of tea is best for meditation?

Postby johnny » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:54 pm

danieLion wrote:Organic loose leaf Oolongs, Puerh Tuocha (aka Bird's Nest aka Camel's Breath). Your attempt to balance caffeine and l-theanine is wise, and I think these are the best for that. Also might try Gyokuro and other premium Japanese teas.
Regards,
Daniel


thanks! i love ti guan yin loose leaf oolong for meditation! puerh tuocha better work darn well if it really taste like a birds nest or camels breath, i hate pu erh but i consider tea medicinal and generally for meditation only so i would consider it if it's like legendary meditation medicine. gyokuro is great! and thanks! the theanine deal is something i discovered after many anxious, jittery coffee days lol!
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
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