Tea is a strange thing, for surely no other drink has such a history and cultural commonality of evolution as Tea.
I believe Tea is such a part of our conciousness of social interaction that we are for the most part unaware of it’s part in our lives.
Of course I speak as an English man and since generations before my birth Tea has held a place in English culture from the highest to the lowest in the land.
If you stop and observe people’s behaviour around Tea it can be quite fascinating. Nowhere is it not accompanied by a moments pause and appreciation. From ceremonial tea serving to a momentary personal moment for a worker in a hurry.
A moment of stillness around which they day may pivot.
In many ways it’s even more interesting to hear the conversation surrounding Tea.
I have for instance heard apprentices castigated for their ability to make a cup of tea.
It’s very interesting to hear tea referred to in reference to someone’s worth as a worker, host, general polite person.
Tea is so ingrained in English culture that it’s the one thing we seem to have in common, the thing we want for a moment of calm, to invigorate us, to find a moment of balance in the centre of the modern busy and stressful day.
The thing that has always struck me the most is that even without common cultural links tea has nevertheless found a special place in many cultures. It holds sometimes unconsciously a special place in our lives, it’s drinking is surrounded by ritual that is so usual so natural to us that it happens without thought.
In essence it boils down to this…
Boil water. Steep tea, pour tea. And yet… Something so simple is in so many places and in so many ways given so much more attention and occasion.
I cannot think of anything else that pervades humanity so.