my dried hot drinks: Process

Brewing specialty coffees, loose leaf teas, tisanes and other infusions has been a regular morning ritual of mine since adolescence. Heating the water and preparing the organic matter is a moment of personal communion to start my day, to feel grounded within the greater Earth body that sustains me. 

Since 2019, I have recorded what I brew each morning, dried out the coffee grounds, tea leaves, mate flakes, etc. and saved the drink matter in repurposed glass jars. As more of my energies have gone into learning about climate change, this daily practice has become a means of self-care, to cope in the face of natural devastation and grieve for those disproportionately impacted by its effects.

In this inward response to the climate crisis that wrestles with the complicity of my being in the world, I have experimented with embedding the dried drink matter in handmade papers and coating these sheet in wax, as well as activating them through the lens of the camera. There is a definite bitterness towards my inherited human exceptionalism that seems to have led me to capturing the drinks for my own purposes, but as the days pass and I spend more time with these materials, I feel as though they are inching me ever closer towards an understanding of interbeing with the rest of life.
Looking deeply into your tea, you see that you are drinking fragrant plants that are the gift of Mother Earth. You see the labor of the tea pickers; you see the luscious tea fields and plantations in Sri Lanka, China, and Vietnam. You know that you are drinking a cloud; you are drinking the rain. The tea contains the whole universe.
—Thích Nhất Hạnh