I just have to write about this again: tea is so very culturally inclusive! This was demonstrated the other day in a Children’s Tea & Etiquette class organized by a local mother. We had 12 children in the class—all about six or seven years old. As usual, I put out a world map for us to follow while we traveled from Washington to China, then to Japan, then India, and finally South Africa, steeping customary teas in each country’s tradition. We steep white peony with Chinese tools, whisk matcha with our Japanese tea bowl and whisk, make Indian street chai and then steep some herbal rooibos in a traditional teapot. The kids love the experiences as much as I love introducing the teas to them.
In this particular class we had children from each country represented—making the experience for everyone even richer. Our Japanese participant asked if she could demonstrate whisking the matcha which prompted all the kids to give it a try. Our South African participant and her mother talked about how much rooibos is a part of life in South Africa. We learned with our Indian participants that the word chai means tea, and how it is traditionally made in Indian homes.
Every time I teach this class I have opportunity to reach both kids and their parents with the magic of tea and the richness of our world.