I’ve written a lot about travelling with tea, but what about tea that travels? There is, of course, a lot of tea that gets shipped en masse across the world as imports and exports; tea is a popular drink across the world, and most of the tea in Europe and the United States is shipped in from tea growing countries such as China, Japan, India, and Kenya. But the travelling tea that I am referring to in this article is a little different; I am talking about tea that has gone on a more individual journey to get where it is today.
In our modern culture of commodity, commerce, and exchange, a lot of objects find themselves accumulating interesting biographies as they are bought and sold, resold, taken on holiday, given away, inherited, lost and then found again. Tea is no exception, as a recent experience of mine reminded me.
Visiting a friend at her home in New York City, we sat down together to have a cup of tea. Knowing that I enjoy trying different teas, she offered me some loose leaf Darjeeling. It had been a while since I sampled a Darjeeling, so I accepted, and was very impressed with the tea. Upon asking where she had bought it, she said it had been a gift from another friend of hers who had visited India and brought it back. I had enjoyed it so much that my friend insisted I take some of it home with me, to enjoy at another time. So a sample of this tea is now safely stored in one of my small tea tins, and has since been enjoyed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In fact, another friend of mine enjoyed it so much that I left the remainder with her as a thank you for letting me stay with her.
So this tea has found a permanent home in Boston, arriving there from India via New York and Rhode Island as a result of three friendships. I suppose all of those middle steps could have been eliminated if my friend had just purchased some Darjeeling in Boston. But that would have been so much less interesting.
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