Tea Infusiast News, No. 12

December 2023, Autumn

Welcome to the December 2023 edition of Tea Infusiast News–a newsletter for tea lovers to connect with and through tea. This is the 12th edition of the newsletter and the second that is appearing here on the website!

Banner that says "Tea Infusiast News." "Connecting with and through Tea."

In this December 2023 Edition

December’s Mixed Moods

December has mixed moods.

On one hand, December is a festive time in a majority Christian culture like the United States, where I live. I love the cheerful and nostalgic tunes, the twinkling lights, the fragrance of fresh pine trees, and (most of all) the spirit of generosity that bubbles up.

This year, Chanukah falls in December. I love when my family gathers to eat the delicious latkes (fried potato pancakes) that my husband makes. Lighting candles in our menorah for this Jewish holiday is also a pleasure. There’s so much beauty in the rituals of the season.

Three snowy pine trees on a hillside at sunset

On the other hand, December can be demanding. This month often involves more than the usual number of events to attend, gifts to buy, cards to write, and trips to prepare for.

Grief and dread can even surface as we confront loss or difficult relationships and memories. We can feel pressure to express a joy that we do not feel. And, that’s hard.

In academia, where I work full-time as a professor, December has a particularly intense professional rhythm. Classes are ending, projects are being finalized, and there’s a lot of grading. Given the high workload and pressures to finish and do well, emotional labor can be extra draining, too. I am stressed. My colleagues are stressed. My students are stressed. And, I have extra-sensitive receptors to the mood around me. I feel it all.

So, staying grounded and intentional is extra important to me this month. I don’t want to merely “get through December.” I would like to experience it with presence and a sense of balance.

The word "space" written so it could be read "space" or "pace," from Tea Infusiast's 2023 Vision Board.

In fact, I would like the pace and space (my two words for 2023) to fully experience the beauty of the season. To do this, I am building in practices to help me rest and be better equipped. I hope you can, too.

New Format: Virtual Tea Table Rest Videos for December

Tea, as I have shared, is an important part of my pacing and resting. My scheduled tea sessions bring pleasure, rest, and mindfulness. Meaningful pauses like this restore me.

To make tea and rest practices as accessible as possible to others, this month I’ve changed the format of my tea and rest series, the Virtual Tea Table. In December, I’m offering 20-25 minute rest practices videos that you can use at a time that works best for you!

December’s Virtual Tea Table features this new format.

Image for December's Virtual Tea Table 2023 featuring a photo of Traci Levy, a white woman with silver hair wearing violet glasses and black clothes, and holding a teacup.

Why not give December’s rest practice videos a try? Make it easy to build a rest practice into your month. I provide a guided steep, rest time with a curated video, journal prompts on the theme of Seasonal IntentionaliTEA, and more! The practice is about 25 minutes long–meant to be a manageable length to integrate even (and especially!) into busy days.

The three weekly themes for December include: setting an intention for the month, the comforts of darkness, and places to kindle light.

Full details at December’s Virtual Tea Table link above! If you think you would like to sign up, you can use the button below to sign up and/or ask a question.

What’s Steeping

As I prepared the December 2023 edition of Tea Infusiast News, one tea has been particularly hitting the spot! It stood out for tasting delicious and also bringing joyful energy. This tea is from Camellia Sinensis, the Canadian tea shop. (This post is not sponsored! A friend generously shared some of this tea with me.)

I’ve been loving Huiming Hong Cha, a Chinese black tea. The deep brown and bright caramel colors of the leaves are beautiful! The aroma and flavor remind me of an exquisite combination of two other teas that I love–Balhyocha (a Korean black tea) and “Oriental Beauty” / Bai Hao (a Taiwanese oolong). The Huiming tea has the deep chocolate notes of Balhyocha, as well as the peanut oil fragrance which that tea sometimes has. And, it also has the brighter, fruity florals and honeyed notes of a great Bai Hao. YUM!

I’ve been playing around with steeping this black tea in different kinds of tea pots–porcelain and clay. Really enjoying it both ways! Have you ever tried this Huiming black tea? What did you think? (Let us know in the comments!)

Blog Anniversary: Three Years!

Banner that reads "Happy 3rd Anniversary, Tea Infusiast Blog" and features some images of flowers and a teapot.

Three years of the Tea Infusiast blog this month! On December 16, 2020, my first blog post went live, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. I’m in the process of working on a rewrite/update to that first post to commemorate the upcoming 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Stay tuned for that post!

In celebration of the three-year blog anniversary, I’m hosting a:

  • free online tea social
  • free personalized “Tea & Time” gift certificates (see example image)
  • giveaway

Only Tea Infusiast News subscribers can access the first two. (Subscribers can see their inbox for details.) The giveaway, by contrast, will be open to anyone in the USA or Canada.

Soon, at my Instagram account, @teainfusiast, I will reveal the giveaway. It includes some beautiful teaware and a handmade tea accessory from Soocha Tea. If you are a Tea Infusiast News subscriber, you will receive an email when the giveaway goes live. You will also receive information about the easy way subscribers can get an additional entry in the giveaway.

CommuniTEA Spotlight Updates: January – June 2023

Instead of featuring a new CommuniTEA Spotlight for this month, I’m sharing a retrospective of the 2023 January – June CommuniTEA Spotlights. Learn about them and see updates on what each member of the tea community has been up to since being highlighted!

Seasonal Blog Highlights

Looking for gift ideas for tea lovers? Gifts that support small businesses? I’ve reviewed and updated the posts I wrote last year. I still heartily support these recommendations! These posts are NOT sponsored.

Interested in a tasty non-alcoholic drink for special occasions?

Check out my Grapefruit Bee’s Knees Mocktail recipe!

Thank you for reading the December 2023 edition of Tea Infusiast News!

I invite you to share any thoughts or questions in the comments, below.

Grapefruit Bees Knees Mocktail in a class with a spring of rosemary and a lime garnish. A sliced grapefruit and lime are on a cutting board to the left.

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