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Affirming the Diversity of Tea by Gail Gastelu

Monday, March 2nd 2015 @ 12:03 PM

Tea is diverse. It is multi-cultural. It is social. Tea is the most powerful thing I know that transcends all barriers to equality and acceptance of all people. Tea brings people together in so many ways that someone could probably write a book or many different books about it.  I am not going to write a book today but this post might be a little long as I jot down a few thoughts about tea for the greater good.


TEA is. . . – Tea means much more than two leaves and a bud or the wonderful beverage we all enjoy, hot or cold, or the experience of afternoon tea.  Understanding this deeper meaning comes from my own passion and enjoyment of tea plus years of being so closely immersed in the tea industry and watching others as they connect more deeply with other people –through tea- for every reason under the sun.  (Have a look at our TEA synonyms posted at our Facebook page – it was a simple idea that turned into a very fun series of posts which received very positive feedback.)

As I write this, I’m thinking again more about what TEA is. . .Tea is transcending; it rises above. tEa is Equanimity as it provides stability, composure, and calmness. teA is Affirmative as in affirmative action and all inclusive for all people; equality.

Think of the many different countries growing tea. Each tea is unique and each nationality enjoys it and celebrates it and prepares and consumes it very differently.  Have you ever experienced a Japanese tea ceremony for example? In America, we enjoy all types of tea from many different countries and embrace the multi-cultural differences in preparation and enjoyment thereof. It’s a beautiful thing to experience tea as it is served in time honored, traditional ways with different types of tea ware specific to the customs and ways of a specific tea’s origin.

More than this, here in America, tea is enjoyed in every cultural way possible but also takes center stage in every type of special occasion, event, or social gathering. It is revered for its elegance and its simplicity at the same time. It is enjoyed by every age.

Since 2003 I have been connecting businesses and consumers to all things tea. My passion and drive is to help every person enjoy tea in the way that he or she desires for business or pleasure. That person may be a young child enjoying tea with dolls and teddy bears. It may be a teenager or young adult. It may be a woman in a frilly hat. It may be a man! It may be an older person who has known all along how wonderful tea is – and we are just now learning their secrets! It may be a tea business trying to find its niche within the industry.  It may be anyone who likes anything or enjoys any unique hobby or career.  Business men. Women. Moms. Dads. Grandparents. Children. College Students. Nurses. Doctors. Restaurateurs. Coffee lovers too. We are a diverse group of every nationality and of every walk of life. Tea people are all inclusive and embrace equality and affirmative action whether they consciously realize this or not.

What does all of this mean? And why did I decide that this would be my blog topic today?

The point is that anybody, anywhere, can enjoy tea. Embrace it! Forget about past stereotypes. Tea is not just for when you are sick, although it sure does make you feel better.  Tea is not just for little children’s parties. Tea is not just for people in pretty hats sitting in a pretty tea room. Tea is not just for people who prefer a more simplistic or holistic approach or environment. Tea is for everyone, everywhere and I have witnessed how powerful it is in bringing people together, even complete strangers.

Accept the wonders of tea in your own way while you also appreciate the way others do in their own way.

For me, I embrace all sides of tea, from the very serious business side to the fun side and encourage every style of its enjoyment.  If I am so fortunate to be invited to experience tea with others in such distinct ways, I will do anything that the situation or gathering dictates; “When in Rome!” The full phrase - "When in Rome, do as the Roman's do." I just go with the flow but that does not stop people from telling me to get out of my stuffy business suit one day and then cautioning me against donning a hat the next day warning me that I might be typecast.

So, the next time you see me out of my business suit for an hour or two as I welcome and experience everyone’s style of embracing tea, don’t judge me if I wore the frilly hat for a bit, or sat and had fun with some darling children with pretty cookies and pretend tea, or when I very seriously and reverently sat to enjoy tea more simplistically with others through ceremony.  Do not judge anyone for the way they personally embrace tea time, instead ask to experience it with them in all ways. Find your own personal way to enjoy tea and by all means share it with others.

For the Love of Tea. . .



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GAIL GASTELU is Publisher of The Tea House Times, Producer of TeaCourse.com continuing education and TeaEtiquetteCertified.com among other numerous products and services to connect businesses and consumers to everything tea. Gail lives in NJ with her husband and two children. Her motto is "Just Do It!"  Learn more about Gail's work here.

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Gail is RINGLEADER of this fantastic group of Guest Bloggers!  Enjoy stories of our careers, tea experiences, and overall joy for tea.

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