The past eight years of my life have been a continuous tea party. I didn’t pursue this life because I loved tea, I pursued this life because I want to see more happiness, quality, and empowerment in the world. The first tea party I attended was in Tohoku, Japan in January 2012 – just a few short months after a tsunami devastated communities throughout the area. I was part of a Japanese tea enthusiast group that hosted tea parties in temporary housing communities, schools, and senior group homes to uplift the spirits of the people during such a cold and dreary times in their lives. From that point forward I was convinced that tea parties could lead to world peace and I would dedicate the rest of my life to hosting and supporting tea parties and tea appreciation.
As tea lovers, it is our responsibility to share this invaluable information with everyone around us. It is our great joy and duty to build fellowship and connection through tea service. Nowhere can you see this more that at the largest tea party in the US, the Northwest Tea Festival. Every year it is a wonderful chance to connect with new and existing tea friends, and even meet in real life the tea friends you have developed on the internet (I got to meet Jaelithe, the editor of this blog for the first time at this year’s festival). Thousands of people gather to not only buy products and learn about tea, but to feel the real magic of tea: Connection.
Following this past World Tea Expo I had the honor of hosting the official afterparty in my warehouse in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can read what went down at this tea party in Kevin Alexander’s article Artisanal Tea in America is Having a Moment on the popular national food and lifestyle website Thrillist. Tea parties making it into such a high-profile platform is a major victory for tea culture in the United States.
As many in the tea community celebrated this victory, some chose to belittle its significance in the history of US tea culture. Alexander, a tea novice, found and described exactly the element that will spread the magic of tea – connection. Through the profiles of each tea person he interviewed, he retold the story of the power of tea to draw people in through connection. The narrative of his own exposure to tea also focused on the camaraderie and connection with the others at the tea table at the WTE afterparty.
The more tea parties, the more people will discover tea; and the closer we can come to world peace. As tea lovers, it is our job to make tea warm and welcoming. Being an early tea expert in US culture doesn’t give us privilege or superiority over others. We all have the same responsibility of inviting others to the tea table for connection. If these tea parties have gone mainstream, we have succeeded.
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