Tea is Magic: The Practice of Tea
Tea is magic! You just can’t convince us otherwise. A simple infusion of leaves in water has somehow traveled around the world. In each place it’s landed, a ritual has evolved around its brewing and drinking. These leaves in water have changed whole cultures! Creating a drink from these leaves in water is more than just a recipe, it’s evolved into rituals, ceremonies, and practices! Exploring these rituals of tea, can help us determine what special role tea can play in our lives.
One can’t talk about the culture of tea without starting in China. Tea is part of everyday life in China where more tea than water is consumed. Tea is bought for pennies a cup, and tea is bought for tens of thousands of dollars an ounce. In the place where tea was first grown and where more is grown than any other place on earth, tea is treated with reverence. Black, green, oolong, white, and Pu-ehr are all revered. The vessel used for brewing is just as important as the tea brewed in it. Many households have a teapot for each kind of tea. Tea is equated with love and respect. Children serve tea to their elders as an apology for bad behavior. When families join together in marriage, tea is served. Drinking tea in China is an everyday act, and it is an act of respect towards yourself and those around you.
Tea may not have originated in Great Britain, but the British have certainly made tea their own. Breakfast, afternoon, and high teas are synonymous with the United Kingdom. Many teas enjoyed in the western world such as Earl Grey and Breakfast Teas are the invention of the British. It can even be said, the British spread tea around the world as they carried this love of tea to all their colonies (well, many of their colonies! We all know what happened in the Boston Harbor!) Tea is an important part of most Britons' day. It kick-starts the day as well as provides the added ummpphh needed for getting over the afternoon hump. As with tea traditions around the world, it also moves beyond the everyday and into special occasions. What was once a working class tradition of high tea is now an occasion for all types of celebrations.
As the British’s thirst for tea grew, China’s prices exploded. In an effort to become more self-sufficient, Great Britain experimented with growing tea in their new colony of India. And as it turns out, tea took well to the growing conditions of the mountains of India. The Indian people took this tea and combined it with their own tradition of a spiced drink and the British tradition of adding milk and sugar to tea to create the tea we know as Marsala Chai. Today, Chai is a part of every life. Every neighborhood has a Chaiwalla- a maker of chai- who blends up his own recipe of black tea with milk, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon, ginger, star anise, fennel, peppercorn, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves. Indians drink chai as a morning drink, an afternoon drink, as a hey-the-day-needs-to-slow-down drink, as a I’d-like-to-take-a-little-bit-of-time-to-have-a-conversation drink. Chai is an essential ritual of everyday life in India. It's a way to take care of oneself as well as a way to take time to connect with loved ones.
If you’ve been to Morocco, you know a greeting isn’t complete without a cup of Moroccan mint tea. The exact history of how tea came from China to Morocco is hotly debated. It could have been as early as the 12th century by the Phoenicians or as late as the 19th century when Queen Victoria sent tea as a gift to ruling families or somewhere in between. Regardless of when Morocco first received tea, they’ve made it their own. Moroccan tea is a combination of gunpowder green tea, dried or fresh mint, and sugar. It’s poured from standing height in order to aerate the tea and release its beautiful aroma. Mint tea is a daily occurrence as it's drunk anytime family, friends, colleagues get together. It’s even offered to customers as they enter a shop. And the preparation is just as important as the drinking. A tray with everything needed is placed on the table and the tea is prepared fresh in front of all drinking. In Morocco, tea is intertwined in all relationships.
Creating Your Own Tea Ritual
In the United States, tea hasn’t entered our culture as it has around the world. Perhaps, that has to do with the Boston Tea Party moment. For a long time, tea was considered unpatriotic and instead we embraced coffee.
We think it’s time to change that!
As we’ve read above, tea can be about much more than nourishing your body. It can also provide nourishment for your soul! We encourage you to think about how tea can fit into your daily life. How can it provide a nourishing ritual in your everyday life?
Can tea provide you with a pause? A few minutes each day to unwind and relax. Taking the time to properly brew a cup of loose leaf tea is the perfect way to turn your attentions away from everyday stresses.
Can tea provide you with a daily indulgence? Life can sometimes seem mundane. Immersing yourself in the enjoyment of luxury loose leaf tea can give you something to look forward to each day. Taste the unique flavors and know the care that went into the creation of each type of tea you choose to drink.
Can tea provide you with a time to check in with yourself? As you watch your tea leaves unfurl and breathe in the scent of your brewing tea, ask yourself how you are feeling. Take this time to think about your day and feel the feels you need to feel.
Or perhaps we'd like to create a ritual that involves your loved ones. Is there a time you can invite others to join you in a time away from life's busyness?
Coming Later This Year! A Tea Subscription that will help you experience the rituals of tea from around the world–without ever leaving your home!
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