"After you get settled and make a cup of tea, I'll go over the to-do list for today." That's the afternoon refrain you'll hear as our crew of high schoolers come in for work each day. With booksacks stowed in cubbies, the sound of tea jars and scoops can be heard as they steep their favorite tea blends. Then they get to work: we do all our own packaging, blending and bottling in the store, and these young hands make quick work of stocking our shelves. Their afternoon tea time got me thinking about the (many) benefits of tea.
When you're in the store, the subject of the health benefits of tea comes up often, and the list is long! Catechins, anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, vitamins, minerals. They're all very good reasons to drink tea, and you'll hear me talk about them in our Tea 101 classes.
There is certainly no shortage of health info on tea: social media feeds, blogs, videos and websites are packed with information about the healing properties of this ancient beverage. We field questions every day as customers peruse our in-house brand--SoGo Tea Co.--of hand-blended teas. Is this tea healthy? Is this tea good for me? Will this tea make me feel better? Big, sweeping questions with no easy answer. With so much information on the minutiae of ingredients and wellness compounds, I often wonder if we've overlooked the most beneficial component of all: solace.
I love the BBC series Call the Midwife. I chuckle during the intense birth scenes because I know what's coming: 1) a baby and 2) a cup of tea. No matter if it's a difficult or easy labor, the midwife always commands (use your British accent here): "Put on the kettle!" Tea is a ritual in their world. Good times or bad, stressful or stress free, you put on the kettle and steep a cup.
Modern-day Americans are no strangers to stress. My friend Andrea Lyerle summed it up perfectly: "Busy is the new fine." I say it myself when asked "how are you?" Busy. I'm busy. I loved Andrea's take on busyness when she taught a Tea for Wellness class with us recently. "Busy is a choice," she said. "We create busyness and then we go to great lengths to busy ourselves creating forced relaxation with elaborate spa days, television binges, wine and chocolate, bubble baths, and social media scrolling and swiping. Real self care isn't that complicated. Small, purposeful pauses every day are what real self care is about."
I couldn't agree more. I look at my team of high schoolers each afternoon and think: they're doing it right. Taking a brief 10 minutes to steep and sip tea, chat about their day and make each other laugh--it's a beautiful daily ritual. I love watching this little pause and shift in their day.
Ready to pause and embrace the simple ritual of a daily cup of tea? Here are my high schoolers' favorites:
Josh--The Big Fig