My dad was drinking Matcha long before it dominated our Instagram feeds—well, long before Instagram even existed. I’d watch him scoop out heaps of bright green powder and heave at the sight of it. He used to drink coffee but long replaced his morning cup with a good-for-you green tea instead. I’d observe as he boiled water, cleaned a teapot, prepared the strainer and heard the distinct clinks of our mug-infested cupboards.
It took until I was around 13 years old for me to drink an entire cup of tea. It wasn’t exactly love at first taste, in fact it kind of tasted like straw. While the physical act of drinking tea didn’t appeal to me yet, I found something remarkably soothing in the ceremony of it all. The preparation, sipping slowly and meditatively and feeling the warmth radiate from a painted souvenir mug. I’d smooth my fingers over the pottery and hope that one day, I’d have mountains of mugs too.
“Nobody is ever in a hurry when they drink tea.”
While we’d always have tea in the morning, black with a splash of milk, our tea drinking emerged into the evenings. After dinner, we’d retire to the family room, watch television and all enjoy a crisp white tea. It was a form of connection between us, at a time when my life had been completely uprooted.
We’d moved to a new city, and I started high school not knowing a soul. I was bullied, hateful words spewed at me, vicious mocking, kids ran away from me, girls invited me for sleepovers but stood me up, and boys paid no attention to me at all. I was painfully lonely and irretrievably sad, but those evening tea sessions provided a space free from worry. I was safe in the warmth and renewing scent from my peppermint tea.
Life isn’t always so simple. The older I got, the more difficult it was to find refuge. The scars from years of bullying sent poisonous thoughts through my mind, there were family dramas, deaths, ongoing battles with my mental health and painful broken hearts.
While tea provides numerous health benefits, unfortunately (as of now) it can’t cure life’s problems. But it did serve as a uniting force. Uniting my family in a time when life was messy and confusing, uniting my thoughts after a difficult day. While my palate begun to appreciate the taste of tea, I continued to revere the ritual of it. Making tea forces you to be mindful, to focus only on the now–something I’ve always struggled with. But after every funeral, tear-filled night, manic episode, stressful day at work or school, it gave me something I could do, something I could control. You don’t need to figure out your life while making tea, you just do what you can and find comfort in that simplicity. Nobody is ever in a hurry when they drink tea.
Perhaps these experiences are why I’ve always been a fan of Harney & Sons tea. Yes they have incredibly ‘grammable packaging, the highest quality teas and they’re charitable and conscious of their global footprint–but beyond that, they’re a family company. They focus on quality, impeccable customer service and making tea an everyday luxury.
For hot tea my favorites are Peppermint Herbal (for after dinner and before bed), Paris (perfect for mornings), Black Current, White Peach. While for iced tea, Goji Berry is crisp and delightful on a warm summer day.
This past weekend, as I slowly sipped Paris tea while my boyfriend cleaned up after cooking me brunch (hello bf goals) I realized how dramatically different my life is now. I’m happier, I’m more confident in myself, I’m not the bullied girl sitting alone in a noisy cafeteria. Some things however, are exactly the same. Tea still unites my family after dinner, I seek tea for comfort and relaxation and it’s remarkable how a beverage can serve as a backdrop for life’s most monumental and mundane moments.
Life is uncertain, there will surely be heartbreaks, deaths, bad days, feelings of loneliness, feelings of inadequacy but don’t forget that through it all, there will also, always be tea.
I’d love to know what your favourite tea is! Share in the comments and include your tea story.