Annie Favia’s morning meditation begins with a cup of tea—all the time unfastened leaf and ideally wild foraged inexperienced. As she waits for her water to attain a roiling boil, about 180 levels, she rigorously selects 5 to 10 leaves and drops them into a glass pot. After she rinses the leaves with a small quantity of water, she refills the pot. The 60 seconds it takes for the leaves to brew is her favourite a part of the ritual.
“I love watching the leaves slowly unfurl and smelling the aromas they release,” she says. “Herbal teas are brimming with floral, fruit, woody, and earthy elements, identical to wine.” As the tea steeps, she admires the delicate change in shade, then decants the pot earlier than pouring her first cup.
“Herbal teas look and smell so enticing, but you must be patient as the tea cools down,” she says. “If you drink tea when it’s too hot, you’ll miss out on the flavors.” On cool mornings, she wraps her palms across the mug for heat. While the tea cools, she closes her eyes and takes within the altering aromas. The deep inhales clear her head for the day. “That first cup is my time to think,” she says.
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Once her private tea ceremony is accomplished, she retreats to her yoga studio. Favia has had a home practice for the previous 15 years, however it was solely lately that she created a devoted area. “It’s my sanctuary,” she says of the light-filled carriage home on her household’s new Napa Valley homestead. “It’s where I set my intention for the rest of the day.”
Using Her Green Thumb to Craft Cult Wines
Before she took up yoga, Favia discovered her zen in a few of Napa Valley’s most famous vineyards. “There’s a very meditative quality to working the land and being out in nature,” she says. “I find yoga clears my mind just like working in the vineyards does.” She honed her viticulture expertise underneath legendary grape grower David Abreu and is married to winemaker Andy Erickson, who has overseen the cellars of cult producers together with Screaming Eagle and Dalla Valle.
In 2003, Favia and her husband launched their very own eponymously named label, Favia. Some 15 vintages later, they’ve discovered a house for his or her household and their vineyard on a historic parcel of land in Napa Valley’s Coombsville AVA. Favia places her inexperienced thumb to use within the vineyards, in addition to an natural tea backyard. She says she selected to give attention to natural teas as a result of they’re caffeine free. “As I get older, my body can’t handle alcohol and caffeine like it used to,” she jokes.
Tea leaves are harvested with simply as a lot care because the grapes, hand-picked to retain their entire flower and leaf, then instantly positioned in a temperature managed drying room to protect their freshness. The leaves are dried at low temperatures, to seize as many pure oils as attainable, in order that they drink with shiny, clear flavors.
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Turning Tea into a Business
Favia’s love of tea began means past she had her first sip of wine. As a youngster, she spent hours together with her mom choosing herbs within the backyard for recent tisanes.
“I still equate sitting and having a cup of tea as shared time with my mom,” she says. When Annie moved to California, she studied with the late tea grasp, Winnie Yu of Teance in Berkeley, and began rising any varietal she might get her palms on, gifting mason jars of teas to associates. When Favia’s mom was recognized with ovarian most cancers a few years in the past, she gifted her daughter $10,000 to begin the tea enterprise she dreamed of.
Last yr, Favia launched ERDA, a unfastened leaf tea firm aimed toward making Americans deal with tea as if it have been a wonderful Cabernet. “The American tea culture extends to a bag in a paper cup that we drink on the go,” she says. “I think tea should help people slow down.”
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How to Drink Tea Like a Sommelier
Like an aged wine, a high quality tea evolves over time, says Favia. After the primary pour, the leaves may be re-infused up to 5 occasions and every new cup will supply delicate, but distinct traits. “The entire process is a sensory evaluation, similar to how you’d enjoy a fine wine,” she explains. “Sight, smell, and taste all unfold. You get so much more out of the experience if you are sitting and enjoying the tea as a mindful practice, rather than brewing it quickly and taking it to go.”
Annie says her largest take away from a three-day tea preparation workshop with Winnie Yu was how aware all the course of could be. The precise tea preparation helps get you within the mindset of consuming extra thoughtfully: Favia rigorously chooses her tea leaves and all the time makes use of a glass pot to make sure the brightest flavors. Just as a sommelier decants a bottle of wine to let it breathe, Annie permits every cup a second to cool and open up. She takes a deep inhalation earlier than her first sip, considering the aroma. “Just like wine, the tea should have an entry, middle, and finish,” she says. She notes the change in colour and style from her first cup to her fifth.
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