Article provided by my friends at Art of Tea. I am one of their affiliates, diagnosis so if you make a purchase through one of my links, troche I will make a small commission. Your price, heart however, remains the same.
It’s been just over 240 years since the Sons of Liberty destroyed an entire shipment of tea, tossing it defiantly into the Boston harbor. So began the Revolutionary War. In John Adams’ letters to his wife following the Boston Tea Party, he professed his love of tea, but admitted he would be switching to coffee. Tea had become unpatriotic and coffee began it’s reign.
Needless to say, we have a complicated relationship with tea in the states.
Regardless of where it’s being consumed, tea stands apart from coffee for a variety of reasons. One of the most interesting, perhaps, is the idea of “ritual” that seems to follow tea around like a prerequisite. It may be an echo of rituals across the globe. It might also be the very nature of tea – the time it takes to brew and the variety of flavor that lends itself to a different appreciation than a cup of coffee.
We could write an entire book on all of the ancient rituals surrounding tea. Instead, we’d like to explore the rituals that exist today, everyday, that are usually left overlooked.
- The Children’s Tea Party: You’d be hard pressed to find a six year old who doesn’t at least know what a tea party is. It’s almost a phenomenon – what other social event do kids regularly orchestrate on their own? Childhood tea parties are not only incredibly adorable, they are also incredibly well thought out. The table is set, “guests” are gathered around, (usually pretend) tea is poured and sometimes cookies even make an appearance. Thank you Olde English Children’s Books for keeping tea parties alive.
- The Morning Cup of Tea: Let us be clear – tea in the morning is a different beast than coffee. A (good) morning cup of tea requires that you heat water, steep your leaves, and wait. And wait…It’s kind of a zen experience, having to wait for your caffeine. Even if you decide to go to a cafe rather than brew at home, you never quite escape the patience that tea insists.
- The Iced Black Tea and Lemonade: Or, as most people call them, an Arnold Palmer. (We have our own spin on that from National Lemonade Day.) This drink has knocked it out of the park over the last several years. It started with a golf hero, but it’s fair to assume that few of the 20-something’s that regularly order an “Arnold Palmer” have a clue who the man actually is. The ritual lives in routine, and it’s always refreshing to know tea can seamlessly transition into warmer months.
- The Sick Day Tea: “You should drink some tea.” How many people shared that sage advice the last time you had a cough or runny nose? It’s such common sense at this point, and yet you can’t get away from the suggestion. There is a conception, and a valid one, that tea has healing properties. We aren’t doctors, but the doctors we know tell us this is more or less true. Imagine that moment after a long day of work and a nasty head cold, when you take your first sip of piping hot chamomile tea with lemon, breathing in the steam. It’s truly like a breathe of fresh air.
- The Pot of Tea: This always feels like a big one. A full pot of tea seems to separate the casual drinkers from the die hard. Tea, typically, is a sipping drink. A pot of tea is an hour of your life that you have dedicated to tea (and usually something else, we’re not crazy, we realize you’re probably reading a book or working on a paper.) In that moment, when you fill your pot or order a full pot at the neighborhood cafe, you’ve established yourself as a “tea drinker.” In our books, that’s a pretty awesome commitment.
We invite you to join us. We invite you to share your ritual – what does it look like? How does it inform your day? Is it sweet or astringent? Are you comforted or inspired? Is it a private moment in your day, or a shared experience around a warm pot?
Tell us. Share with us. Join in and help paint the picture of tea.