You have a guest… If they ask you for a cup of tea, there is a desire in mind. Inquire, and oblige with your supplies on hand. Never apologize for not having exactly what they want. Simply offer an alternative; it is the best you can do. They will accept or decline; that is their choice. If they answer, “anything,” decide what you will have and share. Often they will be happy to share a sip and company with you- as that was truly their only desire.
If you want to offer a cup of tea, first ask yourself why: the polite thing to do? you want one yourself and feel obligated to share? your guest looks thirsty? conversation has stalled? The desired outcome of presenting tea to your guest will flavor the tea itself.
To invite someone specifically for tea is the liquid embodiment of intention. It may be to share your excitement over a new find, a setting for a much-necessary conversation, or a gift of service. Be aware of your environment, type of tea, and serving ware, which will create the perfect blend for your desired outcome.
It can be difficult to sort through our intentions and purposes throughout our day. Tea is a simple act which gives a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. We often serve thoughtlessly, assuming the fact that something is given means it’s automatically “good.” But gifts can be tainted with negative desires, both our own and the receiver. We can only control ourselves. To serve in obligation is a bitter brew. But a cup shared in compassion is more precious then…well, all the tea in China.
Move with intention.