Our Tea Journal


Here you will find a compilation of all the stories we have to share about our experiences with herbs, teas, the Japanese Tea Ceremony and so much more. 

Please feel free to peruse them all and don't forget to like and leave a comment. 😊


"Making up the Fire"

Charcoal setting procedure for the Japanese Tea Ceremony

What is Sumi?

In a narrow sense, charcoal (sumi) is a combustible material containing carbon as a main component, which is obtained by steaming and carbonising organic matter. Products such as charcoal , bamboo charcoal, and coconut charcoal are used as fuel. In the Japanese Tea Ceremony it refers to the pieces of coal of varying sizes and shapes which are placed into the Ro (hearth) in order to ensure that there is sufficient fire available to heat the water for the Tea Ceremony.

The Utensils

The SumiTemae Ritual requires the following items: 1. the kettle (kama) 2. a basket container which contains most items needed for the ceremony - various types of charcoal (sumi) - hooks (kan) for removing the kettle from the hearth - a feather (hane) - iron chopsticks (hibashi) for placing the charcoal - ceramic container holding the incense (kogo) 3. a special folded piece of paper for placing the kettle on 4. a container of ash with a metal scoop for placing the ash in the hearth 5. large feather for final cleaning of tatami mats

The Ceremony

From bringing all the necessary items into the room to the placing of the various pieces of coal, along with the incense the SumiTemae ceremony has strict rules and sequences that must be adhered to. The Kettle (kama) is removed from the hearth in a specific way and the area is cleansed by a feather throughout the procedure. refilling the kettle is also a part of the process as is the final cleansing of the tatami mat after replacing the kettle and before leaving the tea room. There is so much more involved with the process which can only be understood through years of practice.

The Practice

At the beginning of my Tea Ceremony journey in 2017, I never thought that i'd ever be able to complete this ritual. It seemed so difficult as well outside of the realms of things I would be capable of doing. But that's the thing about practice. The more we do something, the easier and easier it seems to become. The same goes for the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The journey towards perfection is the gift not the act of perfection itself.

Lemongrass is one of my favourite healing herbs. It is an amazing super-herb that has been used for hundreds of years for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Lemongrass is a green and white, grass-like plant with razor-like blades and it is grown across the planet in warm tropical climates.

It imparts a distinct lemon flavour when cut or crushed due to a release of an essential oil called citral. The dried herb also releases this same flavour when steeped as a tea. Lemon grass tea is an excellent detoxifying agent. It has the ability to cleanse out the toxins found inside the body particularly the digestive and cardiovascular system. It eliminates the harmful elements in the body such as uric acids, contaminants and bad cholesterol. It also improves the blood circulation as well as the digestive system.



Mentha, the scientific name for mint, is a genus of plants in the family Lamiaceae. It got its name from the Greek mythological figure Minthe, a Naiad-nymph who was transformed into the fragrant and aromatic herb.

For millennia, mint has been used as a symbolism of hospitality. In ancient Greece, it was rubbed on tables to welcome visitors. The herb was used to clear the air in temples and homes. In the Middle East, mint tea was and still is offered to guests upon their arrival.

Growing Mint

The mint plant is common and a favourite of many gardeners, so it's easy to grow your own.

Mint is mostly grown for its aromatic leaves. Oval and serrated, the leaves of mint are indented with veins and come to a point. They impart a fresh clean scent and a strong mint flavour with sweet overtones. Leaves are commonly bright to dark green in colour but some varieties can be purple, grey-green or even pale yellow. If allowed to flower mint will produce white and lavender to purple petite blooms. Young leaves will have the best flavour and texture, leaves allowed to mature on the plant for too long will become bitter and woodsy in flavour.


As an herb, mint is gluten-free and suitable for vegan, vegetarian, and paleo diets.

Each variety of mint has been traditionally used to treat numerous ailments, ranging from an upset stomach to nervousness. Modern medical research has focused on peppermint oil, which is now often sold as a dietary supplement capsule, medicinal tea, or topical preparation.

The cool taste and sensation mint imparts is a result of the naturally occurring compound, menthol contained in the herb.


The major mint varieties used in cooking and cosmetics are:

  • Mentha arvenisis (Japanese mint, field mint, corn mint): thrives in tropical and Mediterranean climates, used fresh or grown for its essential oil.

  • Mentha piperita: (peppermint): a hybrid of three other mint species, now grown extensively for its essential oil and for its use (fresh and dried) in cooking.

  • Mentha spicata: (spearmint): a hybrid of two other mint species, grown also for its essential oil and its usefulness in cooking.

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v. to heal, treat, remove pain, or quench one's thirst.


n. a place of warm solace and restoration, where one comes to find peace, balance and harmony.