Some in the community may have heard that a tea “house” now exists in Telluride. The space is not a teahouse in the sense that some might expect. Down Main Street, on the west side, Colin Hudon is serving tea in his own home.
Hudon — who’s lived in Colorado, but is new to the box canyon — is hosting a tea ceremony in his living room. Twice each week, the community can sign up to have the tea experience with him for a sliding-scale donation rate. On Mondays and Thursdays, locals and visitors alike gather on the floor to sit with him on pillows.
He serves oolong, sheng and other Chinese teas in traditional tea “bowls” (rather than cups), while quietly explaining the significance of what he is serving.
Otherwise, he asks guests to sip their tea, all three cups, in silence during the ceremony.
Hudon completes what looks like a ritual, or what is part of the traditional tea practice, when he methodically gathers the bowls, pours the hot water into them and offers tea to his guests.
Some might come to him to dive deeper into the varieties of Asian teas and to experience the nuances of them, like some might do with wine, in order to learn.
On the other hand, some come for spiritual reasons, and Hudon agrees that drinking tea in this way is a spiritual practice — like mindfulness or meditation.
“What if I told you,” he asked guests before a second round of tea during his March 7 ceremony, “that these bowls you’re drinking from were 2,000 years old? Would it change the way you handled them?”
Indeed, his guests sat a little straighter after the question, and held their bowls a little more gently.
Later, he asked the group of six what might happen if he mixed the bowls up altogether. Would they be able to identify the bowl they’d been drinking out of for the past hour? The guests silently pondered his question and began to look more closely at the individuality of their tea bowls and the leaves in it.
For Hudon, tea is about presence.
“It’s my way, the guiding light in my life, the path of nature, the path of wisdom, and the essence of Taoist and Buddhist teachings,” he said in an interview with Sun Potion (a well-known company that sells herbs and plants) in early March. “Tea is everything for me.”
Hudon also works as an acupuncturist. He has a strong background in traditional Chinese medicine and is passionate about the healing powers of plants.
Though he travels to Asia often, Telluride seems like a natural fit for someone like him.
Hudon also hosts a community support day at the beginning of each month, during which tea enthusiasts can gather, help him organize and pack tea that he distributes and also share a meal.
His first community support day happened March 10, and he described it as “a wonderful connection for everyone involved.”
Local John Wontrobski, a self-described lover of tea, was in attendance.
“And I am looking forward to going to some of the ceremonies, too. It was an interesting group of folks that gathered,” he said. “He talked to us about the background of the tea and the balance, and balance in one’s life, and for him tea is a balancing thing.”
Hudon distributes tea through a “club,” through which people can sign up, purchase teas (along with tea ware and other items) for seasonal delivery.
For more information, visit livingtea.net.