By Ciera Miller
Your dark roast sits in front of you. Steam rises from the mug. It smells of aromatic vanilla mixed with roasted Arabica beans and tickles your nostrils pleasantly. You take a small sip. It’s warm enough to send waves of heat throughout your body, and it doesn’t burn your tongue. It’s like bath water, in warmth. Comforting. Fresh. Invigorating.
You stare into the mug, thinking. Bath water warmth. Bath water warmth? You take another sip and ponder. What if you were to fill a bath up with coffee and drink all of it? Not a bird bath, but a full bath. Another sip, more pondering. What if you took a bath in your coffee? Would it be as comforting, fresh, and invigorating?
Maybe one day, you can visit Yunessun, a hot spring park in Hakone, Japan. There, they not only have hot springs for a fun bathing experience in our natural world, but they also have their own humanmade springs, and they’re not springs made of spring water. Instead, they’re springs each filled with either coffee or tea, or other drinks like wine and sake. They also have a beautiful view of the Hakone mountains.
But why would someone want to sit in a hot spring of coffee or tea? What’s the point of that?
Coffee, when applied to the human body, seems to beautify it. Rubbing coffee grounds under your eyes can apparently reduce the dark shadows there from lack of sleep, and so make you seem less tired. Some acne cleansers use coffee grounds as an exfoliator because of the antioxidants that coffee has. It can also enhance and darken your hair because the acidity helps smooth out your hair and makes it shiny.
And tea for the human body? Green tea has antioxidants as well that are not only good for skin, but also for detoxifying and relaxing. Green tea is great for soothing tight, sore muscles, whether after a run or just having slept wrong. It helps with blood circulation throughout the body and relieve bruising as well. And as always, green tea also helps to reduce all kinds of stress.
Bathing in coffee or tea instead of drinking it apparently helps your body to absorb these benefits more quickly. And so, the bathing tradition is born. Originally, though, in Japan, bathing in tea was a ritual practice and a way for people who lived near each other to bond, spiritually and physically. Reflected at Yunessun now, it has the same sort of communal feeling. People who don’t even know each other come together and bathe, maybe even flick water at each other with a smile.
At Yunessun, the hot springs are brewed every few hours so that fresh coffee and tea can be provided for new spa-goers. To replenish these baths, coffee is nel dripped with low temperature spring water and then added using large pots. Tea is added using a large tea pot over its own spring, and sometimes the spa-goers will let it shower over them. Maybe even be a little tempted to drink it as it falls. Though the baths look tasty, spa-goers are reminded not to drink the tea or coffee, for their own good. What do you think? Could you stop yourself from drinking your bath? Do you think you’d feel comforted after sitting in a pool of coffee all day? Fresh and invigorated by the soothing green tea?
Set your coffee down. I know it’s hard because dark roast and vanilla are the ultimate flavor combination, but set it aside. Stop pondering the idea of bathing in your coffee. Instead, go out and have your own coffee or tea bath, and if you can’t make it to Japan, do it yourself! Buy yourself some green tea bath bags and soak them in hot tub water until they’ve seeped thoroughly into the bath water, then relax all your stress away. Brew coffee and pour it into your tub to cleanse your acne and wash away any signs of tiredness. Bring the hot springs to you, and find out what all the fuss is about.