Brewing Connections: A Personal Journey Through the Global Tea Culture

by Jeremy Tang

Some of my earliest childhood memories involve visiting my late grandfather in his farm in Malaysia. Every time I visited it would always start the same way, no matter what time we arrived (sometimes past midnight), he would always great us with tea prepared in a specific way, unique to the region of China my family is from. As he prepared a small pot of very strong tea and served it we would exchange updates from the last time we caught up. The tea and the ceremony served like fuel to the bonds that were created and strengthened from these conversations. I also observed that’s what he did with business associates as well given he was always striving for meaningful interactions whether personal or professional. In fact he never really drew a distinction between the two.

Since then I have always associated tea with connection. On route to Europe and North Africa for the end of the year I have stopped by Turkey, another tea drinking culture. Sipping the aromatic Turkish tea, the warmth of the glass in my hands felt familiar, reminiscent of the times with my grandfather. It dawned on me how tea, in its various forms, is more than just a beverage; it’s a universal language of hospitality and connection. In Turkey, the tea culture is deeply embedded in daily life, much like it was in my grandfather’s routine back in Malaysia and his hometown in China. The way people come together over a cup of tea, sharing stories and moments, transcends borders and cultures.

This journey has reinforced my belief in the power of simple rituals to bring people together. Whether it’s the strong brew in small pots in China, or the sweet, fragrant tea in tulip-shaped glasses in Turkey, the essence of connection remains the same.

I hope everyone’s 2023 has been full of small cups of kindness that builds bridges between hearts, cultures, and ideas. Wishing you all many more in 2024.

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