I have a fond appreciation for hot beverages and outdoor spaces, but my “on the move” mentality means I don’t often stop to make a ritual of the experience . I have long known this to be true, blaming lack of a good hot water flask – though these things are easily acquired. Slowness and mindfulness are not so easy! (A possible throwback to my roots in go-go-go America?)
Which brings me to this beautiful Tokoname Japanese tea pot and tea cups, items that weren’t on our original pack list when we set out for a weekend in Dartmoor. Along the way it was Andrew’s idea to stop at Comins Tea House in Dorset – a place I’d been talking about for years having been there back in 2015 for an amazing and insightful tea tasting. Our visit in October 2021 was just as good – possibly even life changing – made particularly special by the slow convivial experience and the enthusiasm of Michelle Comins who owns Comins Tea House with her husband Rob. So inspired were we by the mindful act of making and drinking tea that we came away with all the tools required to enjoy delicious tea in the outdoors. This includes: teapot, cups, a terrific tea pot cozy, and Sencha Karigane (green tea).
We chose our tea moment after a particularly frustrating and arduous hunt for an artefact that in the end eluded us (Grant’s Pot – ever heard of it?). The tea stop was an eye-opening 30 minutes that made me realise that the time pressure I almost constantly feel is a total illusion. Walking and wild camping is therapeutic for me because it takes my mind off other anxieties, though in a way those activities are a way to just busy myself with other things rather than actually just being in the moment! ? Who knew that tea could be the catalyst for so many deep thoughts!
A few observations…
- We boiled hot water in our Jetboil, but for day trips it would be useful to carry a flask of hot water. Enter my quest for a flask that actually keeps water hot (I was let down by my Hydroflask)! I’m giving an Esbit flask a try on recommendation from @antiquariangent but would love to hear what flasks you guys use and love!
- Our tea cups from Comins are made of delicate ceramic, beautiful but far better suited for home use than carrying around in a rucksack! I’m on the hunt for some wild camping friendly tea cups – possibly something made of hand-carved wood? Watch this space!
- We were lucky to have had great weather for our first tea time in nature. However I wouldn’t be put off by poor weather. We’ve had many uplifting hot beverage experiences under the the safety of the group shelter during moments of abysmal weather – of course these are the times when taking a time out are particularly important!
If you want to enjoy mindful tea drinking, I highly recommend a trip to Comins Tea House (they have tea houses in Dorset and in Bath). If you can’t make it there, you can acquire tea, tea ware, and more goodies over on their website which has a wealth of information on all the teas.
“Tea in nature
When I first travelled in China I was captivated by the amazing tea sets people produced from small padded bags on trains, the hot water flasks (easily refillable on trains & at stations – a good idea perhaps @sw_railway?). In lockdown taking tea outside was a small act that became a big part of our lives so it is so joyful to see @monicashaw & @houseofbshawenjoying the same on Dartmoor this weekend. The making and enjoyment of tea out in nature really helps us to slow down and take time to enjoy life – & you only really need a few pieces of teaware & some quality leaf! Why not try it for yourself ? ? ? “ @cominsea