I was invited to Hood River Valley High School to share some knowledge about, and taste, tea with a group of teens. These young people have asked for their own separate tea time, separate from the Tuesday Teas which have been so popular for the last five weeks. The Tuesday Teas began with boys, followed by girls, then to a mixed group. For the past two weeks the Tuesday Teas have been made up of students who requested to be included.
I arrived to find an interesting mix of teenagers: boys; girls, sophomores; juniors and seniors; boys and girls with long hair; boys with short hair; Latinos and Caucasians. What a wonderful group of amazing young adults! They showed a genuine interest in tea and quite frankly, some sophistication about the different tastes of tea. One young woman even gave a brief description of matcha! Back a hundred years ago, when I was in high school . . . I don’t think I would have taken my free time to taste tea. These young tea drinkers will become the next wave of tea enthusiasts and I, for one, applaud them.
As I passed through the halls, I saw posters about drugs, anger, political messages, sports announcements, student art work, notification of the next dance – all things pertinent to high school life. I’m fascinated by this particular group of kids who were so bright and interested in tea. I wish I could understand what attracted them and how to enlist their help in spreading the word to their generation about this wonderful ancient brew. They clearly understood the issues about not adding milk or sugar and why that was important. They looked, they touched, they smelled, they tasted. Perhaps this was an isolated sample: no one was over weight and one young man was munching on baby carrots. Teen- aged me preferred devil dogs and potato chips. In fact, I left feeling very hopeful for the next generation. I’m told there’s actually a waiting list to attend these tea time lunches! If one teacher could inspire this small group of teens, think of the possibilities around the country! I had originally typed in ‘around the world’, but I’m reminded that kids around the world do drink tea.
I’m thankful for a very thought-provoking afternoon. Would it be asking too much to hear some of their voices on T Ching?