My Cup of Tea

Maggie - Danville, Virginia
Entered on October 14, 2009
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I believe in afternoon tea. It doesn’t have to be a formal affair with finger sandwiches, fancy china, and lace doilies; nor does my tea have to be freshly brewed and poured out of a tea pot. When I say afternoon tea, I simply mean tea, in the afternoon, anyway I choose.

Afternoon tea grants me temporary respite from college life. It has a remarkable ability to uplift my spirits and soothe my anxieties. My typical afternoon tea is far from elaborate. In fact I don’t even use a tea cup. I keep my refrigerator stocked with single serving bottles of tea, and I drink them while sitting in front of my computer. It may not sound very exciting—drinking processed tea out of a plastic bottle in a dorm room. But in each bottle of tea, there is a glimmer of optimism—literally. After drinking about half of my bottle of tea, a quote imprinted on the inside of the bottle appears. Whether uplifting or witty, the quotes always brighten my day.

With good company, afternoon tea provides a basis for reminiscence and hospitality. When I think about the times I have enjoyed tea with others, not a single negative experience comes to mind. I think of bonding with my sister by having play tea parties when we were younger. I think of wandering the tea isles in grocery stores with my older brother—a tea aficionado. He would tell me the origins and health benefits of each kind as well as which were his favorites. I think of sharing a pot of green tea with my mom in our favorite Japanese restaurant, and then having green tea ice cream for dessert.

As tea continues to be a part of my life, memories continue to be created. I enjoy escaping the monotony of homework by joining my friends on a trip to a small tea café downtown. When my mom visits, we can never say our parting goodbye until we have enjoyed our green tea lattes together.

Best of all, afternoon tea is a link between all places and all generations. While I am enjoying my tea, people all over the world are doing the same. My brother is in Oregon drinking a cup of Moroccan mint, and my mom is in her office with a bottle of peach oolong. A group of friends in India are enjoying their Assam tea, while the British royal family, perhaps, is sipping Earl Grey. Tea is a custom that transcends time as well. The same beverage I enjoy today was also enjoyed by my ancestors. And as long as the tea plant continues to exist, so will future generations continue to savor its delights.

So I believe in afternoon tea, a custom that brings peace of mind and respite, celebrates and strengthens relationships, and binds places, cultures, and generations.