Whether you like it cold, shaken, green, or black, tea is one of the world’s most favorite drinks. Literally!
For me, tea was one of those things that got super trendy and I had to somehow start liking it! Yep, that’s right, I forced myself to like tea and voila! Now I love it!
Of course I LOVE my shaken black tea with two pumps of sweetener from Starbucks but tea is a wordly obsession! Seriously everywhere that I’ve traveled to for longer than a couple days, tea is a staple to their diets. Like it means something more than just a yummy comforting drink.
In the United States we get so caught up in all the health benefits. That’s unfortunately how our culture works. There has to be something we can gain rather than just doing something for enjoyment. And ya, I sure do love knowing that tea has great antioxidants, anticancer properties, and can attribute to weight loss, but those things don’t really cross my mind when I’m in front of the barista.
In other countries I’ve really spent some time in like Kenya, South Africa, and Turkey, tea means something more! It’s a way of saying ‘you are welcome here’ without actually saying those words. The community as a whole is based off of such a simple drink that brings people together no matter how different those people really are or what kind of culture they come from.
Kenya: Hot chai tea was a staple when I visited. Crazy to think that the first international country I visited when I was 10 years old was in Africa. HAH! I could slap myself for not liking tea at the time because chai is soooo good! I was crazy. It was offered constantly! Some of the poorest villages and poorest houses we visited ALWAYS had chai brewing and ready. If that’s not hospitality then I don’t know what is.
South Africa: I studied abroad in this amazing country my Junior spring semester of college. I’ve never drank so much tea in my entire life. Every kind of institution has two tea times built into their daily schedules. So cool, especially when you are going crazy in a 5 hour class and need a freaking break! Rooibos is the nation wide tea of choice and I fell in love. Tea time also means loads of cookies and fresh bread. I had to give this up for lent that year because that’s two daily temptations too many! I kept the tea habit though! I miss getting together with all my friends twice a day to catch up and say hi over tea.
Turkey: Cay (pronounced chai but it’s just black tea) brought the community together like no other. You would constantly see business owners and friends outside of their shops drinking tea together. It’s served in these precious glass tea cups that you have to hold by the rim or else you’ll burn your fingers off. I remember going into a Turkish delight shop with my mom and the owner gave us endless free samples and offered us tea. We were instantly friends and felt so welcome.
There are so many kinds of tea and each one is known for something different. These three stand out to me so much and have a special special place in my heart.
Whether it’s based on the antioxidants or the taste, enjoy a cup of tea and relax in the moment.
What does tea mean to you?