A New Tea Culture

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I’ve been feeling a tug-of-war going on inside me for some time now. It’s a battle between living a traditional tea lifestyle and a modern tea lifestyle.

This week, the contrast of those two lifestyles became quite apparent.

Traditional Tea Culture

I’ve been reading an exquisite book called Tea Life, Tea Mind. It’s by Soshitsu Sen XV, a Japanese Grand Tea Master, and discusses Chado or The Way of Tea.

Simply stated, it’s about preparing, serving and receiving tea in a way that has been passed down from one generation to the next.

These customary practices inspire beauty, kindness, honor, grace and respect.

There is a part of me that highly values these ideals. In fact, I cannot imagine living life in a manner that doesn’t reflect these principles.

From a traditional viewpoint, I feel myself pulled to the simple life; a life of peace and tranquility where the din of the world is merely an illusion of progress.

Modern Tea Culture

On the flip side, I recently came across an article titled: Lady Gaga Sparks Afternoon Tea Revival

In the commentary, a representative of Debenhams, a British department store, is quoted as saying that the eccentric, pop diva is driving the trend towards tea drinking.

I have to wonder if Lady Gaga is perhaps the tea master of the new millennium.

Her highly-creative, push-the-boundaries, self-expressive and versatile ways have captivated those of us craving the freedom to be ourselves and break free from cubicle hell.

Through her passion and drive, she encourages us to make our own personal statement.

What’s truly brilliant is our declaration doesn’t have to be bold nor brash; it can be as simple as picking up a cup of tea. Our individuality can shine through in our choice of beverage.

In a sense, the modern tea culture can be summed up in four words: Be different, drink tea.

The New Tea Culture

As I take a step back, and reflect on the old and the new. I realize that they both have much to share and contribute.

However, when trying to come to terms with the two sides of myself, the peaceful eremite and daring trailblazer, I find myself stuck. Stuck right in the middle of a life that is neither serene nor remarkable.

I have to ask myself, “Must I choose between a traditional and modern tea lifestyle?” or, “Can I have the best of both worlds?”

This is the question that haunts me because I don’t have an answer. Although, deep down I sense that it is possible to have a balance amongst the two.

Finding the equilibrium between honoring the past and embracing the future is my struggle, but I am certain that it is not my quest alone. I believe it comes down to survival, if you don’t grow you die. It is the human condition.

As a collective we have made incredible progress this past decade in science, technology and public policy. With this knowledge, that we can be and do better, I am confident that I can help to create a new tea culture—a culture that inspires peace, freedom and individuality.

In fact, it may even be my mission.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Be different, drink tea!

What do you think of the idea of a new tea culture?

8 comments on “A New Tea Culture

  1. Nina February 8, 2011 6:43 AM

    Make your own twist on everything… you revere and ritualize your tea experience yet are a modern woman living a modern life. That sounds like balance enough to me! As for Lady Gaga – the point still stands: afternoon tea is a needed break. Take time out to relax and measure, steep, pour and drink tea!

    • a girl with tea February 13, 2011 7:54 PM

      Thanks for your insight Nina!

  2. Deb November 22, 2010 6:26 PM

    Oh my goodness, if Lady Gaga is the Tea Master of the new millennium I think I might cry.

    I totally relate to being torn between the old way of tea, the tradition, history an ritual of it all. But for me, I’ve learnt that I needed to develop my own way of tea, my own way of learning and appreciating tea.

    I love old tea lore and tea history but I am also slightly obsessed with new teaware on Etsy, with writing about tea and talking with other tea bloggers – it’s a constantly evolving journey but that’s part of the appeal, the constant exploration and striving for balance.

    • a girl with tea November 23, 2010 2:14 PM

      Thanks for your comment! I especially like your point that finding balance is a personal journey. It seems, that each of us needs to discover our own Way of Tea and the learning experience is what makes it so fun!

  3. Jeanine Byers Hoag November 22, 2010 3:44 PM

    I love the idea of being different in your own way, and I think whatever gets someone practicing afternoon tea is a mighty good thing, whether it’s old-fashioned or modern.

    But I understand the struggle, and I guess we each have to resolve it in our own way.

    A tea toast to you for staying with the process and allowing the struggle! *raises cup*


    • a girl with tea November 23, 2010 2:04 PM

      Thanks Jeanine! I like your point about the most important thing being just enjoying a cup of tea, whatever that ritual might be for you.

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