For the Love of Tea

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What is your relationship with tea?

Most of us have learned to appreciate tea as part of our family traditions and ceremonies. The British are famous for afternoon tea, the Chinese for the tea ceremony as part of the wedding celebration, the Japanese and Koreans for their own formal ceremonies.

In my Scottish family we drank tea every day. Even now my mother offers a cup of tea and some cookies whenever someone visits. I remember when I was a child my grandmother would make me children’s tea made with a few drops of tea in a cup of milk with a little sugar. It was such a treat that I would look forward to having it every time I visited. Mostly, we brewed Orange Pekoe tea steeped in pots of boiled water.

Sometimes I like to go out Afternoon Tea in one of our upscale hotels. There is something so elegant and celebratory about trays of little sandwiches and cakes served with clotted cream and jams. Teas are gently poured into china cups through delicate silver strainers. Even thinking about it makes me smile.

Recently, I have been discovering some wonderful loose leaf teas. In an effort to learn more about the endless varieties of tea and their origins we went to the Toronto Tea Festival. The festival, held at the local reference library, offered a variety of tea tastings by a several tea companies, some local baked goods to share with your tea, teapots, tea sets and books about tea.

We enjoyed a demonstration of the Korean tea ceremony performed by specially trained women and a young girl who is trained in presenting the children’s tea ceremony. The formal ceremony is steeped with tradition and special meaning. It was very interesting to watch.

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I was very excited to find a book titled Tea (History, Terroirs, Varieties) published by the owners of the Camellia Sinesis Tea House in Montreal. The book is an excellent reference on the teas of the world. I understand that it has been published in multiple languages and is used as a textbook in the Tea Sommellier program taught in Toronto’s George Brown College and in Korea.

I am really looking forward to reading about the various types of tea, how to brew each, and how best to enjoy them.

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If exotic teas are not your thing, you may enjoy a hot cup of tea with traditional sweets or cakes. Whether a formal afternoon tea or a traditional ceremonial tea is what you enjoy, you will remember what tea brings to your life with each cup.

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6 thoughts on “For the Love of Tea

  1. I love that you shared your cultural history! Thanks so much Nina.

    The significance of Tea is entrenched in our heritage. I would love to hear other stories about how tea was a part of people’s cultural traditions.
    I think this is a topic worth a series of blogs.

  2. Loved this article as much as I love tea!! From my own background, I thought this might be of interest and add to the multi-cultural aspect of your article:

    Ancient Silk Road caravans transported tea into the regions of Russia, Ukraine and the Trans-Caucus thousands of years ago and has long been enjoyed by aristocrats and peasants, Cossacks and clergy alike. Tea in Ukraine has a poignant contemporary history as well. During the Great Famine of the 1930s, many Ukrainians survived on tea by using cherry branches, pine needles, and twigs.

    Traditionally made in a Samovar, tea was served in a tall glass with a metal base and handle called a stekans, sweetened black tea is best complimented by small cakes, tortes, fruit, cheese and most particularly black bread. In business, offering tea to potential customers is an accepted part of the selling process, and in homes, tea is a gesture of welcome.

  3. Such a great post, beautiful and interesting too! I know there is a real tea culture. I grew up on coffee, tea was what my Mom gave us when we were sick. I have grown to love tea as an adult and would love to learn more about it. Your photo’s and tea cups/pots are just beautiful.

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