Spilling the Tea about Tea

American Tea + Coffee is a local tea and coffee shop that sells a variety of teas, such as Matcha Green tea. The Sidekick staff writer Sarah Habib writes on how tea is a better alternative to coffee for both health and cultural reasons.

Claire Clements

American Tea + Coffee is a local tea and coffee shop that sells a variety of teas, such as Matcha Green tea. The Sidekick staff writer Sarah Habib writes on how tea is a better alternative to coffee for both health and cultural reasons.

Sarah Habib, Writer

 As the saying goes, “A bad day with coffee is better than a good day without it.” But what if one knew about the health risks and the individualized culture of coffee, would any day be a good day to drink it?

That’s where tea comes in. A remedial for days under the weather or an elixir for your never ending stress. Tea is a way to rejuvenate the body and mind, proving to be a significant curative.

However, tea is not just a therapeutic, it is a tool that has been unifying people since the third century, but its variance and meaning have been undermined to the likes of overly commodified coffee. 

To understand tea, we need to go way back.

Tea originates in China and eventually moved towards the West through Portuguese priests and merchants in the 16th century. Now, it has been incorporated into the lifestyle of many around the world. 

While coffee has early origins, it does not signify the same meaning or value as tea. The coffee bean originated from Ethiopia and cultivation and trade began on the Arabian Peninsula, becoming a luxury in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Coffee was not only enjoyed in homes but soon in public coffee houses, drank for any social activity. People would engage in conversation, listen to music, watch performers or play chess while drinking coffee in coffee houses.

And though coffee creates a sentimental moment between people, whether it be a date or a chat with friends, nowadays it has become an over-commercialized product for a quick on the go or an aid in the workplace, less union and more individualization. 

In South Asian culture, chai (Hindi for tea), is a sign for hospitality, community and family tradition. My family often invites neighbors, family friends and parts of our community over for tea as a way of bonding and building a potential relationship with new people – an observation I have not only found in my family but in others of the same culture.

“Tea is an outlet for discussion, a way for people in my family to connect with each other,” Coppell High School sophomore Shubashree Bhattarai said. “It’s a timely occasion – whether it be in the mid-morning or late afternoon, my family is open to sit down and drink tea over just about anything.”

In East Asian culture, tea is a way of life and ancestral tradition. Tea ceremonies are part of custom, as the process of fermentation, fragrance and pouring is all done carefully and with grace.

“Whenever I visit my family in China, we all get together around the living room table and drink tea. It’s not only a tradition but also a process – an art,” CHS junior Tony Shi said. 

But not only is tea a custom but an ally in health, an ally that many nations and cultures strongly follow. It has been proven that tea helps enhance concentration and clear the mind, as well as provide many health benefits such as reducing the risk of certain cancers and stroke. Some teas, such as hibiscus tea, lower blood pressure while jasmine tea is known to improve cardiovascular health.

Tea is a medicine turned into a beverage, a remedy that draws communities and countries, helping to solidify fruitful relationships. A delight that is not only for when you are coughing sick but when you want to read a book, relax on an afternoon or for work in the early mornings.

Because in a way, life is like a cup of tea; filled to the brim and enjoyed with whoever you want.

 

Follow Sarah (@Sarah.hab1) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter. 

 

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