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Archive for March, 2010

Careful consideration about the many pleasures of tea rituals goes on.

This time I started thinking about ‘tea meal’, the idea of gathering a small group of people to enjoy together a good cup of tea.

But, to better understand dynamics and social elements of a tea meal and to see how different this rituals can be from the ones that usuallly took place a century ago, I decided to hold a little Tea Party 🙂 .

Quite an eterogeneous group of young students get together the 17th of March in my little apartment: eight different people to see if ‘brewing’ is still alive.

At 5pm my table was covered with cakes, pastries and cookies; 10 kinds of blended tea were ready to be sipped!

Conversation started immediatly: tea was in their cups and on their lips!

Helen, my chinese friend, immediatly told us how different tea is in her country; they drink it as we do with coffe, in very small cups with no blends as we think of them.

“Then, why do Britains use bigger cups?” “Why do european country such as France and Belgium have always love to blend tea in their tradion?” “Do French and Belgian people have a tradion in tea at all?” “Really?” “Yes, above all with flowers contrary to the Russians” “The Russian? Do they drink tea?” “ Yes, they do. Their tea are with parings of citrus fruits…” “ Are they? Citrus fruits?”

History, tradition, contemporary art and cooking were also among the most discussed topics.

These conversations went on with an only, constant request, timid at first then louder every time: “ Can I have some more tea, please?”.

Yes, of course you can 😉

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It makes me always smirk the idea that many of my coetaneous have of brewing tea: old, obsolete, a dead tradition; the best you can hear is that some of them enjoy it cold, on a hot sunny day at the beach- which is not bad, but is not “really” sipping tea.

Just think about all the action everyone has to do for drinking a cup of tea: you boil the water and wait for the kettle to “sing”; then you choose the leaves you want- no teabags, of course – and put it into the water; you wait again and then you finally pour it in your cup, sit and enjoy.

Can you see it?

It’s all about TIME.

It’s about you, taking meticulousy care of something with beating but slow times.

It’s about meditation. It’s the impression of feeling safe, it’s the sensation of home and heart .

When you drink tea you should try to get aware of what are you really doing; you should become conscious of all those wars and rebellions that tea has fight for or against colonial power and finally understand its role throught modernity.

When you catch this, who needs movies anymore? 😉

Roberta

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During my latest travel in the UK’s capital I did an unusual discovery which left me quite happy; walking around Covent Garden with my dearest friend Belle, I decided not to visit the famous Tea House in Neal Street again but to wondering around in search of something new.

I have to admit that I was prejudiced about Whittard of Chelsea, thinking it had become too much commercial; it certainly has commercial stuffs and stuffs for tourist, but at the first floor there’s something everyone would love: what about creating your own type of tea?

That’s right! A long white table with three basic tea-leaves pots to choose (white, green or black tea), a series of dried elements (fruits, flowers, other leaves, etc…) and several natural flavourings (vanilla, cinnamon, bergamot, strawberry, etc..).

“Blend your tea”! To me, “that was invitation enough” *! What did I choose?

Black tea with rose petals, mallow flowers and bergamot flavouring!

Simply delicious!

If you are wondering how to blend your own tea, you can do it comfortably at home through Whittard of Chelsea web site. (http://www.whittard.co.uk/)

As always Roberta wishes you a good brew! 😉

* (Pride and Prejudice, CH 1)

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