Ritual, Tea (+ A Giveaway with Kaufmann Mercantile)

Like most rituals, the act of having tea has a longstanding history. From religious ceremonies in Easter Asia to American revolutionaries tossing it in to Boston Harbor, tea is more than beverage; it has become a small event. An act of intent. A sacred ritual. While coffee has been our beverage of choice for the last few decades, tea is having a moment here in the US, and I hope it is here to stay.

WD Kitchen

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I first experienced the deep-rooted ritual of tea while living in England the summer of 2005. Working as an intern at a large branding agency in Notting Hill, I was surrounded by ambitious New Blood winners and overworked art directors. I spent most of the summer guessing what I was to be designing and working on, but one thing was clear: it was my job to offer and fetch tea for my superiors (ie: everyone in the building). Tea was part of their creative process; a pause in the day occurring every 2 hours that went all but unnoticed by everyone but me. Tea was just part of their song and dance. It was a ritual placed on auto pilot. No matter how hard-pressed the deadline, there was always time for tea with milk and a little sugar and it was never to be consumed on the go, or in a paper cup. We had our tea in the kitchen, kicked around conversation and then drifted back to work.

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Since returning from England, I’ve learned to establish respect for little rituals. Take the breakfast ritual, for example. For the past eight years, I’ve made myself eggs every morning. Scrambled. Over-easy. On toast. In toast. Eggs are part of my process, ingrained in my daily habits. I stand quietly while frying a few pieces of leftover pancetta and I wait for the kettle to boil. I pick up my favorite mug. I examine it’s weight in my hand, the little imperfect ridges along the lip of the glass. I lean my hip on the counter, lift open the lid of my tea tin and take a deep whiff. My heart rate slows. These moments are mine, and I choose to let time slip by.

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Those simple moments are not frivolity if they bring you peace and fulfillment. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that. And sometimes, it is only habit and ritual that keep us in touch with the present moment.

KM-Giveaway

Today, Kaufmann Mercantile is hosting a little giveaway inspired by the ritual of tea. Among their assortment of carefully selected, long-lasting, and well-designed goods, is a section dedicated to celebrating this ritual. If you’re a tea or coffee enthusiast, I encourage you to check it out. To enter our $150 gift card giveaway, visit Kaufmann Mercantile. Details: The giveaway amount will be a $150 gift card to our store for one winner to choose their favorite KM goods. We will choose a winner at random (random.org) the day after the giveaway has ended. These entrants are based off of who has signed up through the provided link. This giveaway will close October 1st at 9am.

  • Awesome! I absolutely love Kaufmann Mercantile and with a half-Aussie husband I’m finding myself drinking tea more and more often 🙂

  • Lovely post. I live in London and noticed the same thing in my first full-time job here. Whenever you were making tea for your co-workers, was it kind of expected that you would remember everyone’s orders, as they would remember yours? I felt like I was the only one that struggled with that when I first got here 🙂

  • I just bought a beautiful wooden cake stand from Kaufmann Mercantile a few weeks ago and I am in love with it! I’ve seen so many things on their website that I want – plates, mugs, backpacks, blankets, jars, everything!

    Tea is also part of my morning ritual. It only takes me fifteen minutes to get out of bed and out the door, but I always give myself half an hour to make my tea and just sit and enjoy it. Not rushing around, absent mindedly sipping my tea or putting it into a to-go mug. I sit down with no distractions and just sip my tea and think about my day. Every single morning, even back when I was in high school!

  • I think so many of your photos resonate because they beautifully capture the important small moments. When I look at pictures of breakfast I see my long breakfasts with my dearest friend. Thanks so much for alwyas sharing so openly. I’m reading this between doctor appointments before which I had been telling myself I would get to enjoy a tea after.

  • I’m already on their list and, when I try to enter, it says I’ve “already signed up.” Hope I can still be entered to win…

  • So interesting to read about the ritual of drinking tea at your London workplace – I particularly love the fact that tea was never consumed “on the go” either. On a slightly different, almost sillier scale, after returning home from a trip to Nevis (an island in the British West Indies) where tea was served every afternoon at our inn, we managed to keep up the ritual for awhile upon our return. It was such a nice way for us to break up the day and have a chat with each other (we both work from home), while reminding us of our amazing getaway. The ritual eventually slipped away from us, but now I’m inspired to bring it back – thank you!!

  • Lovely post tying tea with ritual. I fell in love with tea in Kenya over many overly sugary cups of chai with locals, and lots of morning walks through tea fields. It’s been a daily practice ever since.