Thanks to several Google alerts I set up for myself years ago, I frequently learn of tea trivia that might otherwise pass me by. Two recent alerts particularly intrigued me – and a reference in the first to the topic covered in the second reminded me again of just how interconnected the world of tea really is.
The article referenced in the first alert began with a premise I did not agree with – that tea is boring. Boring?! Considering its rich variety and fascinating history, tea is anything but boring. I decided to set aside my initial reaction and forge ahead. The focus of the article was on a new tea service offered at the Mulia Resort and Villas in Bali. If you are not familiar with “the Mulia,” it has (according to its advertising) been ranked third among the Top 100 hotels and resorts in the world and first among the Top 10 beach resorts in Asia. And this New Year’s Eve, they are featuring one of my favorite groups from the ‘70s – Earth, Wind, and Fire!
Perhaps not surprisingly, the tea service is offered at its signature Chinese restaurant, Table8, which serves both Cantonese and Szechuan delicacies. The tea service, called “The Art of Tea,” features a server who is a Kung Fu Tea Master and has undergone extensive training in China to learn the traditional Kung Fu moves, not to mention the pouring routine that is the highlight of Mulia’s tea service. When you order the blooming flower tea, the server turns the act of pouring tea into performance art using a long-nosed brass kettle. Much more exciting, according to the article, than your experience with tea if “you’ve been spending too much time with the Brits.” Which leads to the second article with the interesting title: “Graduates spend 313 hours a year on the tea run.”
The “graduates” referred to in this article are specifically British graduates, who can expect to spend upwards of six hours per week (nine if they are in London) fetching tea (and some coffee) for themselves and their colleagues. The annual hours spent retrieving tea have risen 55 hours over the past year. Unfortunately, the reason for that steep increase is not given.
The point of the article is that, although 15% of recent British graduates’ time is occupied with the daily tea rounds, this is offset – particularly for London graduates – with substantial training and mentoring to ensure that graduates get off to a good start in their careers. In fact, recent studies have reported that 85% of recent graduates are happy with their opportunities and career path. So, sharing in the “boiling of the work kettle” is a small price to pay for employment bliss and undoubtedly has its own benefits.