Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tea Time: A Story of Social Gathering

To say I enjoy tea is an understatement.  I love tea with every fiber of my being.  I collect teapots.  I hoard loose leaf tea to drink.  I even incorporated it into a drawing as part of marketing my art.  The obsession is quite obvious.

While my fondness of tea may seem to have little to do with me being a witch, tea making and drinking is wholly a spiritual experience for me.  I am mostly a social tea drinker.  I connect best with others over a cup or two. Or twenty.

I certainly don't claim to be an expert.  I'm a casual drinker at best, but I do enjoy it.  So when my good friend and fellow CNF member Tony came to stay with us, I was excited to add another tea drinker to my household.

Coming from the Midwest as I do, Tony's experience with tea was mostly limited to Lipton ice tea.  As kid, my parents would pour over a cup of sugar into a pitcher and keep it as a staple in my household.  While Tony says he didn't experience the sugar-shake that was my childhood, Lipton tea isn't exactly the same as the loose leaf I enjoy.  So when offered a cup of hot tea by a friend in Texas, he was of course hesitant.  But his policy of trying everything once opened him up to the world of delicious high-quality loose leafs.  Soon, he began ordering from the International House of Tea where he discovered an obsession with Rooibos teas, a tea made from an earthy and mildly sweet plant typically grown in South Africa.  

In the few weeks that Tony has been rooming with us (read: sleeping on our couch), we've likely made over a dozen pots of tea.  To fuel his infatuation, I've been taking him to local coffee and tea shop Headrush Roasters located in Gladstone, MO.  In fact, I'm there so frequently that I, along with Tony and my mom, managed to make it into a video from Fox Business about the owner, Eric Schneider, cashing in his 401k to start the coffeehouse in the middle of the 2011 recession.

Clearly, Eric made a good decision.  Headrush is a huge success here in KC!  And no wonder.  They have some of the best coffee and tea I've ever had.  I'd also give a good wager that over 90% of the loose leaf tea I own comes from there.

Taking Tony on our trips to Headrush has certainly been an experience for him.  Not only have we had several different flavors of their bubble tea, but he's even begun to collect loose leaf from them as well.  In fact, he made his first loose leaf purchase from them today!  Of course, one of the first teas he went for was a Rooibos.  I actually took one whiff of a Red Vanilla Rooibos and instantly knew he'd like it.  Less than a second later, he was at the counter asking for a few ounces.  We ran home to make a pot and it was just as fantastic as we thought it would be.

During our escapades of making tea today, I asked Tony if he'd ever had a flowering tea.  Imagine my surprise when he said no!  One of the primary reasons why I purchased the Primula teapot is specifically so I could make gorgeous flowering teas.  Needless to say, when I found out Tony had never had one, I insisted we make a pot right away!

Flowering (or blooming) tea is a selection of dried tea and herbs bound together in such a way that, when steeped, "blooms" into a beautiful flower.  If you think making loose leaf is a special experience, you absolutely must try making a pot of flowering tea!  Watching the small bundle unfurl is an awe-inspiring event.

So awe-inspiring, in fact, that we actually made two pots of it!  While the "flowers" can often be steeped multiple times, I wanted Tony to taste a couple flavors that I had.  Clearly, if we had two pots of it, it was a hit!  I'm sure I'll see Tony adding flowering teas to his collection soon.

As a pagan, rituals are important to me.  In fact, everyone has their daily rituals, pagan or not.  Drinking tea has certainly become a social custom of mine.  But picture the possibilities one could explore by taking tea into spiritual practice!  What could be more magickal than soaking a selection of herbs chosen by their medicinal or spiritual correspondences, charging the cup with your energy and drinking it while in circle?  There's something to explore.  Perhaps it's something I'll include in one of my future rituals.


  1. What a great article with beautifuls pictures. I love your tea ware collection !
    I usually drink flavored teas, mostly from DavidsTea, a canadian company. Unfortunately, I'm a solo drinker as people around me don't like to drink tea as much as I do. I usually steep 4 to 5 flavors a day, usually herbal blends, black teas and some rooibos! I'm a tea hoarder as well, so much that my boyfriend says we don't have place for more teaware ;). I'm thinking about buying a little bookcase and put my tea tins and tea mugs in it!

    1. Thank you so much! My husband has "limited" my teapot collection until I can get a china cabinet of appropriate size for our apartment. I've turned to teacup collection to sate myself, lol. I love everything about tea! I can't believe it took me so many years to discover this obsession.

  2. Mmm...tea and beautiful pictures of tea! I wish I could afford to increase my teawares, but alas paying off my medical bills are more important. I have not had to chance to try flowering tea, but I have heard such great things. Can't wait to try it myself!

    1. Thank you so much! I'm so sorry to hear about your financial troubles. If you're looking to save, I've managed to purchase all of my teapots and cups from thrift stores aside from the clear glass teapot pictured. All of the cups and any teapots in the back are all from thrift stores, often for as little as $5 a teapot and $2 a cup! As for teas, our city's farmer's market often has loose leafs $2.75 an ounce. I usually purchase from Headrush because it's significantly closer and saves me on gas, but when I buy in bulk, I head downtown for tea! Good luck to you!

  3. Thanks for the kind words. We really appreciate it!

    Eric, Headrush Roasters

    1. Of course! It's well deserved. Tony and I will always be loyal customers!

  4. I love tea but my teenage grand daughter loves loves tea. One cup is a teaser as she says. Whenever she comes to visit we brew pots of hot tea always using a different tea, teapot and china cup/saucers. My grand mother was born in England so tea was part of her daily ritual though I never understood her "recipe". She would make her hot tea in a bowl with handles, add sugar and at least a pint of hot milk. To me it was more like hot milk with tea flavor. hahaha! I love loose teas and flowering teas.