Let me take you somewhere new for a moment. You’re in India on a crowded street first thing in the morning. Despite the early hour, the air is thick with humidity and that humidity locks all the smells in the air; the dust kicked up from the sidewalk, the spices boiling in the morning dal, and, on every corner you turn, the spicy sweet aroma of masala chai tea.
Let’s try a new place. We’re going to Morocco now. You’re by the ocean, sitting in a café overlooking the sea where you can smell the salt in the air. An elegantly adorner silver pot is put before you, suffused with the unforgettable aroma of sweet, mint green tea.
Maybe these places are too exotic for you. We can go to France instead, a city where the evenings are filled with music and the plates are decorated with pastries so beautiful it’s difficult to eat them. The tea is dark and familiar even if the sidewalks and architecture are relics of romanticized history.
These are a few examples, but no matter where you go in the world, tea has its own distinct culture. Despite the differences, there’s a common thread uniting these people, cultures, and histories across the globe and that’s community. Where there’ a hub for tea, there are people gathering to share ideas and enjoy each other’s companionship. No matter if you’re drinking tea in India, China, Japan, Pakistan, or right in your own home, you can embrace a world-wide culture of community.
Ever since I began drinking tea, it became bonded to my identity among close friends. If they came over to talk, they knew a pot of tea would be waiting. Sometimes they brought over little sweets in anticipation. All around the world tea houses and tea rooms are places for individuals of like and unlike minds to gather and converse, to laugh, and build a family outside of blood ties.
Inviting someone into your space and offering them a warm, comforting beverage shows an openness and trust that’s easy to respond to in kind. I’ve made countless friends and developed some of the deepest relationships of my life while sharing a cup of tea. It brings out the stories in people; It brings out the laughter. How could it not when tea itself has inspired countless legends- when it’s traveled so far through history to be in your cup?
With a few subtle touches, tea drinking can transform a cozy night into a romantic candlelit evening. Try adding dried rose petals to your favorite jasmine tea. The fragrance will fill the room without the need for heavy scented candles. (And it pairs great with chocolate.) Or, you can try your hand at making the Strawberry Rose Latte which I’ll tell you how to make in just a bit. Trust me, it’s easier than you might think.
Strawberry Rose Late
What you need:
- 16 oz boiled water
- 1 tbsp Strawberry Rose Oolong tea
- Honey or Agave (about 1 tbsp if desired)
- 4 oz milk of choice
- Whipped cream
- Dried rose petals
- Dried strawberry pieces or powder
- A ton of Love
Steep the tea in the water for 3 minutes or longer if you like your tea strong as I do, and add the sweetener you like. While that’s brewing, froth your milk. If you don’t have a frother then heating it up will do just fine. Adding cold milk to tea is fine, but it will make the tea room temperature instead of hot.
Add it all together, and top with whipped cream, roses and strawberries.
This tea makes a great dessert, especially paired with chocolate covered strawberries. Not only is it sweet and warming, but the oolong tea will help you digest the dinner you likely had first.
Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with friends or life partners, I hope you enjoy their company around your favorite tea knowing you’re following the example of cultures and communities around the world.
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Stay healthy and drink lots of tea.
Melissa ~ Tea Barista