World Awareness Day Tea Workshop
I recently had the opportunity to talk about tea with a group of students from my son’s high school during their World Awareness Day celebration. We all know that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. So, it seemed to me that tea would be a perfect topic for one of the World Awareness Day workshops. In addition to its popularity around the world, tea is prepared and served in many different ways in different places. So that is a bit of what we talked about.
We started by gathering in the school’s art room to sample two black teas from India. One of the teas was a Darjeeling while the other was a Nilgiri tea.
In talking with the students, I started with the basics. I showed them a live, potted camellia sinensis plant and explained that all tea comes from this type of plant. I then listed the six different types of tea: white, green, yellow, oolong, black and dark, and explained that the camellia sinensis leaves are processed in different ways to produce these six different categories of tea.
I talked a tiny bit about tea’s origins in China – recounting the legends of the Emperor Shen Nung and the Prince Bodhi Dharma. And I then talked about tea’s spread around the world. I showed on a labeled world map how areas to which tea spread by land use a word that sounds like “cha” to name tea, while areas to which tea spread by sea use a word that sounds like “tea” to name tea.
Finally, we looked at a few photos of tea equipment from different parts of the world. We saw a Yixing teapot from China, a kyusu from Japan, a samovar from Russia, a street seller preparing masala chai in India, and finally the serving of touareg tea in Morocco.
Leading the students through this exploration of tea was great fun for me. And I think that they enjoyed it as well.