Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Why was Tea Street built?


Tea was a welcomed guest in my family growing up in 80’s England. My Mum couldn’t start the day without her cup of tea and on family Sundays my Granny would bring tea and cake round on her trolley, while singing a cheerful tune! It was always the traditional black tea, milk and lots of sugar too! So I always knew that tea was a useful tool for hosting guests and I now know this holds true for many families in many countries. Apart from the social side to it though, tea
itself didn’t seem like a particularly interesting drink to me then, I mean, what was there to know?

As I got older, I started to notice people drinking coffee, which seemed a bit more stylish and exciting with its Italian names ‘cappuccino’ and ‘latte’. Coffee also shared with tea a social side to it, but with a shift from home and family to European cafĂ© culture and independent living or travel. It was a staple of chic cities and people-watching afternoons or for the work-hard-party-hard professional.

It dawned on me though, that aside from these cultural differences, these drinks simply came from a plant, (Camellia Sinensis for tea) and usually grown somewhere much farther away than England. It’s easy to forget in this day and age how much we think is English is actually an import. This made me want to explore where tea really came from and how different cultures drank it rather than just accepting the way I knew.


I started to see such a contrast between coffee, with it’s many styles of drinking and chic coffee bars and tea, which was largely the same in origin but offered in English tea shops in the form of dumping a dust-style tea bag to drown sorrily in the bottom of a teapot!

Once I started to feel quite detached from what I was really drinking with my tea I started to think about how we’re all sometimes guilty of being detached from the food and drinks we consume, due to the industrialization of food. If we start to connect with what’s in our teacup, will we be more mindful to other things we consume or to life in general?

Luckily there are now more places that offer a variety of quality tea options and I will blog about these wonderful places! One place I’ve noticed on the web that’s turned Tea culture on its head is the ‘Samovar Tea Lounge’ in San Francisco - and I hope to travel there one day! Afternoon Tea has also become fashionable again but this is sometimes a treat rather than a day-to-day affair.


I hope this gives an idea of how my interest in something as simple as Tea came about and why I had to start Tea Street to talk about all these lovely new teas I was drinking.

…So much to discuss, but for now, Cheers everyone!
The Mayor!