Tea Rituals or Lack Thereof

by syaffolee

As a teenager, I was a science nerd through and through and the only magazines I read with any regularity were Natural History, National Geographic, and Asimov’s Science Fiction. So it was with utter surprise that when I clicked on a link to read an article on tea rituals, it turned out to be on Teen Vogue. And even more surprising was that in its first photograph, it features a book prominently. And not just any book. It’s a book that I got when it first released: Dark Archives by Megan Rosenbloom. What the heck is a book with science and history doing on Teen Vogue? Have teens ditched the gossip for the geek? Or is this an outlier due to the pandemic keeping everyone at home so that there was no gossip to be had?

The writer of that article touts the comfort that the rituals of tea making and tea drinking are for her during the pandemic when everyone is trapped inside and social life is limited to videos on the computer screen.  I can see her point, but for me, tea making and tea drinking are as mundane as brushing my teeth. I don’t have any rituals–I just make it and drink it while I work or read. It’s always the auxiliary to something else, not a singular event in my day that I make time for. There’s always something else demanding my attention and there’s not enough time  in the day to do everything, let alone just sitting around and sipping tea.

As for the tea itself, I’m the sort of person who drinks it hot and unadulterated. Unless you’re deliberately making bubble tea/boba tea or southern sweet iced tea (which I consider completely different drinks), adding milk and sugar is unnecessary. And getting an electric water kettle right at the beginning of the pandemic last year was probably one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I get hot water much faster than the old fashioned kettle on the stove. Which means getting a second cup of tea is no longer an obnoxious wait any more.

A ritual implies that you’ve got time to do it. I feel like I never have enough time. So for me,  it’s just fast tea for now.