On my way back from the Grand Canyon, I had a few hours overlay in Seattle. I was tired from my travel through the night and early morning and was looking for a place to relax and recharge. On my walk towards the downtown ferry terminal, I stumbled upon a beautiful Chinese tea store.

I walked in and was immediately surrounded by a pleasant, calming atmosphere. A few water fountains, soft background music along with beautiful old-style Chinese furniture created a relaxing, welcoming ambiance. Wooden chairs were lined up along the counter and two people were already seated with tiny cups of tea placed in front of them on miniature trays. The merchant behind the counter kindly offered me a seat and a tasting of tea which I gratefully accepted.

First we enjoyed some soothing chrysanthemum tea. Then she offered us a tasting of a fermented kind of tea called Pu’er. She explained that the stress-relief in urban oasistea we were drinking was seven years old. Just like cheese, or wine, certain teas get better with age. This was certainly true for this special tea. It tasted very rich and earthy. As I savoured my tiny cup of pu’er tea, one of my favourite quotes by Thich Nat Hahn came to mind: “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”

I left the store feeling relaxed and refreshed. Next time you feel tired or exhausted on your travels, go find an oasis just like this tea store, where you can renew your energy in minutes.