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American Tea Rituals

February 22, 2008


When it comes to tea, history is being made in United States. Tomislav Podreka at Planet Tea says that “We are … at the beginning of the establishment of an American tea ritual.” 

Think about it. Throughout its history, tea has been intimately tied to ritual. Consider the expression, “steeped in tradition.” In Asian culture tea is integral to ceremonies and meditation practices as it has been for thousands of years. In England, what began as a duchess’s stomach murmurs in the 1800s evolved into tea time as a compulsory daily break for the masses.

It’s now time for America. As “[ritualization of tea] has occurred in every other culture … there will be no difference here,” Podereka says. He credits herbals – which originated early in American history as simple remedies for minor afflictions – for boosting “America’s tea culture to another level” and notes that “these infusions have made great inroads as a common staple of American life.” More recently, stringent scientific study has given additional credibility to centuries of health claims, priming tea for ritualization based on its health benefits. 

What tea rituals will America develop? According to the author, a great deal depends on what influences our choices. Fortified by the latest research, will Americans drink primarily for health? For relaxation? Or something else? In the end, only time will tell, but it’s great to be part of tea history in the making.

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