The Exquisite Tea Culture

There is something about tea culture that promotes beauty and the love of delicacy and refinement, but not in a way that excludes power, strength and all those other ineffable qualities we also love to engage in. Tea culture is centuries in the making and intercultural in its sweep through times, nations, kingdoms and kitchens. It has now come fully into North American life in a way hardly imagined even 10 years ago. At least hardly imagined by me! I came a little late to the party, always assuming that tea meant something done by Anglican church ladies at the St. Michaels Church in Canmore during the 1920s and 30s. Or that tea was my mum and grannie sitting over tea when I came home from elementary school. Or old Mrs. whoever she was, boiling her strong tea on the stove in her kitchen, while all her cups had dark rings inside from the tea being left in them, half sipped. It’s hard for old ladies to see to wash their teacups thoroughly, you know.

Okay, I won’t go into my entire tea history here and now, but suffice it to say that my kitchen has a wide store of teas of all kinds, and I am so very appreciative of it all. I must remember to drink up even my very special precious teas, because there is no use in keeping them until they become too stale to enjoy! For a time this summer I didn’t have much to do with tea in particular, and didn’t spend any time here at the tea blog. But now that the fall is truly upon us, I am brewing and steeping again with great gusto for all the beauty and variety that this one amazing plant has brought into our lives. Just think: cooperative collaboration between humanity and one extraordinary plant has produced the tea culture around the world. I’m astonished and grateful.

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