Recently, I decided to combine two things I love – tea and anthropology. As all of you are aware, T Ching happens to be the perfect venue for the pursuit of all things related to tea. What does this have to do with anthropology? As people, we are embedded in cultures as well as sub-cultures. People who write for T Ching are members of the tea culture, yet we all have a different slant on how we use and enjoy tea.
As I am starting my Masters thesis on the uses of tea, I would love to talk to anyone who drinks tea. I would love to know why you drink it and how you think it benefits you. You don’t need to give me a medical explanation unless that is how you usually explain things. You do not have to be an authority on tea for me to be interested in how you experience and enjoy this drink. In fact, unless you are a doctor, healer, or someone who normally uses medical jargon, I would love to hear your experience in your own words. That’s what anthropology is all about!
I am interested in how you interpret tea, how you use tea, and how you perceive its benefits. In particular, I am looking for answers to questions like:
1. When throughout the day do you drink tea?
2. How do you prepare it?
3. What kind of tea do you find specifically helpful, or tasty?
4. Where did you learn about the tea?
5. How often do you drink it?
6. Are there specific events throughout the day, week, or month that make you want to drink tea more than usual?
7. Do you drink it alone or with other people?
8. Do you use it when you feel ill or stressed?
9. When you drink tea to feel better, what symptoms do you try to alleviate (i.e., stress, a cold, the flu—something else)?
These may seem like a lot of questions, but this is a fun project that is well worth devoting some time to. Feel free to write a comment answering all or a few of these questions, or just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can start a more formal conversation (this is good if you want your answers to be private). I would greatly appreciate talking to as many people as possible about this research.