Mafalda Mountinho landed in the peculiar and curious profession of tea master. Coming from a completely independent background, Mafalda came to Australia to do a bachelor’s degree in product design before embarking on her journey with tea and its history.
Many cultures have a history with tea, how they serve it, what type they drank, and what it meant to them.
Mafalda’s connection to tea started with her mother in Portugal, but she continued her education and now serves the traditional Chinese way of Gongfu Cha.
“My mom really loved loose tea. She always had a box of loose tea that was reserved and reserved for a few special guests or special occasions. It wasn’t tea every day ”
“Tea was a subject that I never saw the end of too, the more you read about it the more you realize you don’t know anything. I started reading more and brewing it and it opened doors that I did not expect me.
We think tea is an everyday thing to share, but it’s very deeply rooted in human experience, it’s at least 5,000 years old the way we drink it, but archaeologists have even found that Neanderthals also chewed the leaves. . “
“The tea plant, Camellia Sinensis, is native to Asia, but the Portuguese traveled to China and established a trade relationship with it in the 16th century. “
“Gongfu Cha literally translates to making tea with skill or intention; It is a folk tradition rather than a ceremony. People literally do it on the street, in their homes, at bus stops or in cars, wherever they can sit, they do it.
Mafalda explained how the tea we all know and love, black tea, green tea, white tea, all come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, it’s just the leaves are picked at different times, well that there are different varieties of this plant in different countries.
What are the benefits of tea I asked Mafalda.
“There are a lot of studies on tea. It lowers cholesterol, helps with your gut bacteria and helps harmonize your gut flora. It contains a special amino acid called L-theanine and its chemical composition is very similar to a lubricant that we have in our brain. When you drink it, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and attaches to our cannabanoid receptors, which induces Alpha brain waves, a state similar to meditation or concentration.
Do tea and meditation go hand in hand, I asked?
“Absolutely. If you look in history at the Zen movement, Confucianism, Taoism, or Buddhism, they all used it. Tea was known as the elixir of life because it was through tea that you could meditate without falling asleep ”
“Tea has been given credit for the evolution of their societies. It allowed people to discuss in a pragmatic way. It allowed people to be humble no matter who you were, if you walked into a tea house all weapons were to be left outside, and everyone was equal. Even art, poetry, and music have developed from co-evolution with tea.
“The tea is not threatening, it allows you to become empathetic, it lowers your guard”
“The caffeine in tea is very different from coffee. In coffee, it produces an addictive quality with a sharp edge that you don’t get with tea. The tea releases caffeine in the bell throughout the day. You have signs of withdrawal if you don’t have coffee. People get addicted to tea not because of the caffeine, but because of the ritual. It’s a mindfulness exercise, especially in a ceremonial setting, it’s an introspective experience, you can do it over and over again, and you get very involved without even realizing it.
Mafalda sells tea on its website called Casa De Cha. You can also arrange for her to come and serve you tea in a traditional setting for you alone or for several guests.