Let me be clear here — I don’t have an ereader. Read on to found out why and what this has to do with tea.
Name just about any area of knowledge or interest and you will see how the onward march of technological development changed it. Automobiles replaced horse-drawn carriages. Sewing machines and weaving machines revolutionized the making of items out of cloth. Pressure cookers and crockpots and microwaves change the way we cook. And much more. Examples abound all around us. So it is with one of the most simple of pastimes: reading.
Stone tablets were carved with wisdom to pass down through the generations. Scribes in ancient Egypt wrote their symbols on papyrus parchment. Monks in Ireland hunched over their desks in dim candlelight and used quill pens and ink to copy letter by letter not only religious texts but many books brought back from their travels to the ruins of the once-vast Roman Empire. And then along came Guttenberg. He was the kind of guy who said, “There has to be a better way.” That’s how a lot of great ideas start. And that was what led to the ereader, a mobile electronic device designed primarily for reading digital e-books and periodicals (although later developments have expanded them into having capabilities about the equivalent of an electronic tablet). Publishing has undergone a major evolution once more!
Hubby and I prefer to read actual books. The smell, the feel, the experience of turning pages. And thus it is with tea, too.
Over the years many new gadgets have been created related to tea. In fact, one of the writers on this blog began awhile back doing a monthly article on them (with a bit of encouragement from me). It has reached the point, at least in our house, when we had to say, “Enough!” We don’t need a Keurig machine, a little tea infuser in the shape of a submarine, a teapot divided into halves where you can steep a different tea on each side, or any of the other clever, inventive, fascinating, cute items that all of those imaginative people out there come up with on a never-ending basis.
When ereaders came on the market, we saw how quickly new models kept coming out, how much money people were spending on upgrades, even with trading in the old model, and what seemed to us to be the worst consequence: losing touch with books, literally and figuratively. It can be that way with tea, too, for when you pop a K-cup in the machine and press a button, you are about as far removed from a true tea experience as you can get. They’re great for a lot of situations, but it’s nice to see, feel, and smell the tea leaves, to heat the water just right, to steep just right, and get that satisfying liquid. Nothing beats the experience.
Here’s to tea steeped in a simple gaiwan or small pot, drunk out of a real cup (no Styrofoam or plastic, as useful and wonderful as those things are), and enjoyed in the most wondrous of settings — while reading a real book held in your hands!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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