Tea is more than just a drink, it is a culture that dates back to 2732 B.C.. For a full history of tea go to Coffee Tea Warehouse . My purposes today is about the culture I have noticed with my family and friends. It provides clues to them as people and possibly what country the family originated from.
I am not a tea expert, just a woman who enjoys a variety of tea, fixed in different ways. Here is how I became the woman of variety.
In my youth tea was something my mother gave us when we were ill. They type of tea depended on what ailed me. My mother had a garden with herbs, vegetables and flowers. In later years she would use what was available from the store, stating I wish I had my garden these are so weak. Her go to teas, for illnesses, were ginger tea, lemon tea, rose hip tea, Chamomile, peppermint and garlic, yes garlic. You can image my reaction to garlic tea as a child. Mom also always gave us a teaspoon of Cod Liver Oil every morning followed by a cup of tea. I never did like the taste of that. None of theses teas had milk or sugar in them. They were made from scratch until later years when you could buy the commercially.
Tea to me was not a social drink. You can imagine my reaction when at a three year diploma school for nursing, (New Hampshire Hospital School of Nursing-Concord, New Hampshire), I was invited to tea with the Dean. I thought, “Are they going to teach us remedies using tea, like my mother?” To my surprise I entered a room with tables set up with Tea Pots in tea cozies, fine china, lace set tables with mini sandwiches and desserts. I was introduced to the afternoon tea, a social event to get to know each other.
Tea here was basically black tea. I saw some people add sugar, others honey and some both sugar and milk or cream. Being brought up a polite young lady, I watched and listened to how people liked their tea. I quietly chose to have my tea plain, nothing added. That is how I drank my mother’s teas. I was surprised by the flavor. I liked it. It didn’t taste like medicine. I later found out it was Earl Grey Tea. This was my first introduction to tea as a social drink.
Over the years, I learn other ways to drink tea. I still go back to my roots using teas for medicinal purposes. When you come to my house you will find a variety of teas to choose from.
So why do I say it tells a little about where someone comes from?
It is what they serve with the tea that gives you a clue.
My Aunt Eleanor served hers with Scottish Shortbread, something her husband introduced her to. I learned a little about his Scottish heritage while drinking tea with my aunt.
My friend Edna always fixed my tea the way her husband liked his, weak with milk. She never asked me how I liked it until half way through she would realize I like mine straight with nothing added. We would laugh because I always drank it the way she prepared it for me. I learned she was a person of habit.
When I lived in Dover, New Jersey, I learned the Thailand culture from my friend, Lee, Chinese culture from Leah and from Charlene how to enjoy tea from a bag. She like Lipton, some like Red Rose others today like Twinings. I continue to learn about people and different cultures as I meet new friends and drink a cup of tea.
Tea to me is a learning experience. Take the time to find out about your friends and family cultures when you Sit and Chat with a cup of tea.
PS my favorite tea is a cup of hot or iced Chia tea.