GIVEAWAY DAY 11: North America

GIVEAWAY DAY 11: North America

Tea has been involved in the formation of North America as we know it today. The Dutch were the first to colonize what we now refer to the United States, bringing tea with them and fondness for tea among the colonies grew when Britain took over. However, the British monopolized the tea trade, and levied a heavy tax. Colonists protested "taxation without representation" and in 1773 colonists raided three tea ships – tossing 342 chests of tea into the harbour. Known as the Boston Tea Party, this was a precursor to the American Revolution. With this, drinking tea became politicized – between those who remained drinking tea and those who chose to boycott became divided.

North American tea culture has continued to shift over the centuries - influenced by politics, socioeconomics, innovations, and demands according to fads and marketing. In fact, the tea bag originated as part of marketing schemes to sell less tea and lower grades, for higher prices.

There are few generalizations one can make when describing North American tea culture – it truly is a melting pot of different lineages, cultures, perspectives, influences and preferences.

Finding a decent cup of tea in North America is challenging for those who truly love tea, in a society where we call things “tea” which are not truly tea. Thankfully, there is movement towards revival of true, fine and honest teas. The return of high-quality loose-leaf is reconnecting people to the true essense of tea, alongside conversations about growing and working conditions - which play a huge role in this revival. This is what International Tea Day is about.

In small circles in North America there is a remembrance of rich tea history and foundational philosophy, a reappearing reverence for the medicine of connecting to land and people, seeking of authentic tea experiences, and growing education about proper preparation and sourcing.

Westholme strives to be a home for tea culture in Canada. While there is no ‘right’ way to drink tea, there are rights for humans and nature – and one of the ways we cast our vote for the type of world we want to see is through our cup of tea.

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