The Sunday after I returned home from the MI Tea Tour [Sept. 25], I was scheduled for my monthly program at Shorepointe Assisted Living. I had established my theme earlier, so it was just a matter of completing my research.
Below are some of the ladies who had gathered for a simple Afternoon Tea.
~ My display table. ~
Before I began my presentation I gave each of the attendees their own imitation passport with stamps from China, Russia, and Japan - the countries I was covering during the presentation.
Since China is the birthplace of tea and the world's largest producer of tea, I began my presentation with that country. I took a tea brick, gaiwan teacup, and Chinese tea basket. I also included a plate in the Blue Willow pattern, so I could share the legend. While the pattern is from England's Spode potteries during the 1790's, the inspiration came from scenes depicted on Chinese porcelain.
I hope to acquire a Yixing teapot before I do this presentation again, and a hat the female tea pluckers wear when they harvest tea leaves.
From England I moved on to Russia. Did you know tea [along with vodka] is the country's national beverage? As soon as a child is old enough to sit at the table, he or she is considered old enough to drink tea with the family. Their tea philosophy is "tea time is all the time."
Since Russia's love of tea is embodied in the Samovar, I took mine, along with a podstakannik [tea glass holder].
While visiting NYC this past May my family and I also went to the Russian Tearoom - a great experience - and I went to Chicago's Russian Tearoom in January of this year. I enjoy the mild smoky taste of Russian Caravan tea. All of these experiences helped to enhance my presentation.
The last country we discussed was Japan. After having recently witnessed a Japanese Tea Ceremony on the Michigan Tea Tour, this part of the presentation held special fondness for me. I took along a Japanese Tea Ceremony set that I've had for a long time which only included a clay mixing bowl and bamboo whisk. The traditional Japanese Matcha tea that was included was so old it was brown instead of the normal vibrant green! ;-)
To my list of acquisitions mentioned above, I'd like to add a Tetsubin teapot, bamboo tea scoop and water ladle, a porcelain tea bowl, and fresh Matcha tea before my next presentation.
It was a fun and informative hour with the residents, and they said they'd like me to expand to other countries, so when I return on October 23rd I'll be discussing tea in Portugal, Great Britain and the United States.