After filling a 茶入 chaire (ceramic tea container) with 濃茶 koicha (“thick tea”), one can sit to make tea. Clearing the mind, one can give with their heart. Purifying the utensils encourages this and clarifies intention.
First the chaire is removed from the brocaded 仕服 shifuku pouch and is purified with the folded 袱紗 fukusa. Next, the 茶杓 chashaku (tea scoop) is cleansed.
Finally, the 茶筅 chasen (tea whisk) is cleansed along with the teabowl itself.
Preparing koicha is a process, one that involves giving everything to the gathered guests. In this, tea is first scooped from the chaire and, then, the remaining tea left inside the tiny ceramic caddy is poured into the teabowl.
Everything is offered up. Nothing is left over.
Unlike 薄茶 usucha (“thin tea”), koicha is not whisked.
Instead, it is “kneeded” into a thick, glossy liquid. The flavor is intoxicating, inescapable, memorable.
A single bowl is shared between the guests. A single moment is enjoyed. A single spirit emerges.
Even when the guests have left and gone their separate ways, they are forever joined in this memory. A gathering for thick tea.
As we gather around together, whether it be over a feast or over nothing at all, let our spirits join together. In the receiving of a bowl of tea, we first bow to host who made it so careful. Then, next, we raise the bowl as if offering thanks to the universe, to the myriad of forces that united together to enable a moment to occur. Tea is always a thanksgiving. It is always a feast, for the eyes, for the heart.
Today, fill your heart, your mind, and open your spirit to the moment at hand.