The Way of Tea

Tea ceremony is often held in silence with intention to create a refuge of tranquility and stillness to balance the quick pace of modern life. It can be a heartfelt, nurturing, or poetic moment. Or it can be exactly how you experience it– this is the beauty of Tea. She speaks to us individually, imparting wisdom when we become quiet and still enough to listen. She is a teacher from the plant world willing to guide us in our human journey. She calls us in and gathers us so we may remember what it is like to be guided by our hearts, tuned in to our senses, aligned to the cycles of nature, and aware of the way we walk with each other upon Earth. 


About. Erica offers 2 forms of tea ceremony. Both are inspired by Taoist/Zen tradition–

  • FOREST TEA is a ceremony that has been adapted (with blessing) from traditional Japanese Chanoyu. This ceremony has migrated out of the formalized tea house and into the realm of the public for the purpose of allowing greater access to all as a path of awakening to the present moment. The roots of this ceremony stretch from Japan into the ancient forests of China providing a rich, multicultural lineage to guide us along the inner pathways of spiritual cultivation. During the ceremony, guests witness the preparation of ryaku-bon (tray) tea and will receive a bowl of hand-whisked matcha accompanied with a tea sweet. It is a beautiful ceremony for integrating into wedding & anniversary celebrations or honoring life transitions & blessing ways. This ceremony is intimate and can serve up to 5 guests per session. The ceremony was passed to Erica by Hilary Sati Walker, a student of artist & Sufi practitioner, Asha Greer.
  • CHADO BOWL TEA is another style of service that is influenced by Taoist Chinese tradition. Erica serves loose leaf tea using either a side-handle pot or gaiwan. The profile of the particular tea chosen for the session is revealed through a  succession of pourings. This ceremony is highly adaptable and can serve up to 13 guests per session and can be integrated into weddings, or a grounding ceremony or meditation to open small-medium size events and retreats. It is also a wonderful ceremony for a forest or beach destination. Erica was introduced to this way of tea by the flourishing tea community along the Pacific Coast and through Global Tea Hut. 

Tea Varieties and Quality. In Forest Tea, each guest receives a bowl of organic, ceremony-grade Matcha (powdered leaves of green tea) and a tea sweet. Chado Bowl Tea may be served in multiple infusions with a wider variety of loose leaf options including herbal blends, green, oolong, red, purple, black and pu'erh. Erica serves organic, 'living' teas that are full of vitality and grown, harvested and processed using ethical, sustainable methods.

Ceremony Etiquette. Forest Tea is less formal than traditional Japanese ceremony. Please, come as you are. Erica begins each ceremony with an intro that will guide you in receiving your bowl of tea. The more you attend, the deeper your relationship to tea and the ceremony will become, and the more you will feel 'at home.'

–BOOK A TEA SESSION: ORCAS ISLAND, WA–

  • For Weddings– For the morning of; during the wedding, or for the reception
  • Special Events & Gatheirngs– New Moon, Full Moon, Blessing Ways, Small Gatherings, Retreats & Workshops
  • Private or Group Tea Class– How to be a guest, Creating a Daily Ritual, Opening to the Language of Tea, Tea & Creativity (explore tea, journaling exercises and handcraft a journal)
  • Tea Hike– Enjoy a private tea session in the forest, on the beach, or a small island. Available May-September depending on weather.

Questions or to book a ceremony, email erica@odelae.com  


Photo by Kayla Kinley

Photo by Kayla Kinley

Erica's tea story: Following the birth of her first child in 2007, Erica was living in an off-the-grid cabin and feeling isolated by her immersion into the self-sacrificial role of motherhood. She was the first sibling in her family to become a mother and her immediate family lived 2000 miles away. Much of her time was saturated in the rhythm of caring for her newborn and home. While Erica was beyond grateful for her opportunity to mother her child, she felt overwhelmed with the new and seemingly never-ending tasks. Certainly there was a way to claim joy, liberation and peace in the mundane, right? With this question in heart, Erica called out for a teacher, an ally, a spiritual guide– someone to help her navigate these unfamiliar waters. With grace and punctuality, Tea arrived and began pouring the way with a steady, nurturing hand via Erica's friend & tea mentor, Sati. Her teacher assured that tea ceremony would awaken her awareness to the sacred in everyday life. "Brushing your teeth [washing the dishes, chopping wood, folding laundry...] will never be the same."