Your Favorite Teacup

Toasted rice tea "I Got You" from T Project in Portland

You know, tea culture is incredibly important.  So many cultures around the world, so many kinds of fascinating and unique human groups boil a plant and drink it with friends and family in a social ritual that creates bonds, establishes trust, and occasionally, reveals the future. Sharing tea with others or with yourself is so... memorable.  It's a moment taken, a silence enjoyed.  That's what it really symbolizes to me; pleasant memories.  Good memories.  Solid and stable memories that always warm me.

I grew around a lot of tea lovers. Our grandma took us to some of the most beautiful tea-houses whenever she could afford to.  I'll never forget how incredibly fancy and special I felt having high tea at The Empress in Victoria B.C, or the quaint little tearooms up North of Seattle by the lake, with all their perfect porcelain and delicious flavors.  I love that "hot-leaf juice"; red rooibos and thick green matcha…  I'm partial to black teas with lots of cream and sugar; Yorkshire Gold, or Market Spice...  But then again, I fairly swoon for a strong mango black or pure peppermint.  I love my mother's teas too; Russian tea, hemp tea, southern lemon sweet-tea.  The Perennial Tearoom used to carry my very favorite kind of tea; Blue Eyes- so tangy and fruity, my sister and I haunted that place after college just to get that Blue Eyes, or Sakura.  Right now, my addiction is toasted rice and green tea from T Project, it is legitimately one of the most interesting and thoughtful flavors I've ever enjoyed, and smells like some odd and wonderful bakery.  I'll be going back to Somehwere for another batch soon.

Delicate, cold, painted china balanced on little round saucers... or big ole glass jugs of dark honey colored sweet goodness.  Fruity teas in summer, spicy teas in winter; long steeping and tablespoons of sweet glorious sugar (I can literally feel my English friends groaning at that part haha).  Oh, and the ritual.  The fancy hats and pretty pearls, and all those doilies stacked with every kind of food that feels familiar and comforting to me.  I don't know what it is, locked inside my memory, but I feel giddy every time I see those three tiers of cucumber on white bread, lemon tarts, biscuits and petit fours.  Nice, pleasant conversations, smiles, and all those marvelous tea pots hanging from their hooks behind the counter, or ringing the room, stacked in glass shelves.  

More than anything, I remember the connection that tea-ware made between people.  You see, the kind of tea cup one holds dearest, or their favorite teapot, says a lot about them.  You can see all kinds of history and personality in one's choice to teapot or of teacup.  There's emotions, wishes, dreams and history in there; broken-hearted tears that fell into steaming cups, trembling hands gripping the porcelain for warmth....  Each hairline crack may tell a story.  For some people, a teacup is just a means to an end.  For others, their teacup is sending a message-  I am delicate.  I am stern.  I adore fine things.  I have an edge...

Whenever I'd go to a teahouse or shop, my favorite part (other than opening very cannister for a sniff) was connecting with other people over the tea-set they were picking out.  I cherished my girlhood tea-sets, and I still have quite a few of them in storage and in regular rotation.  My favorite sugar cannister, teapot and creamer are the thick, white porcelain ones with the blue roses I was given by my aunt while she was alive, when I was twelve.   She was a wonderful painter, and she painted my set.  I have good memories of her. My favorite tea cup is the "Canadian Dogwood" teacup that my grandma gave me (pictured above).  I don't know if it has any collectable value or where it really came from- that's not why it's special.  It was a special gift, saved just for me because she knows I love dogwood and collecting favorite cups was our thing.  It was one of the last things she gave me before her memory went.  Every little gold line, every curve in the cup holds decades of memory and joy. Secrets.  Lies.  Fortunes read. I love how perfectly soft the texture of the cup is, there's something about it that feels good against the skin. If ever I had a favorite cup, mine is the dogwood cup.

I do believe that my tealeaf readings tend to be a little bit more informative in my favorite cup.  As far as divinations go, it isn't at the top of my tool kit but I do occasionally turn the cup and read the remains...  And in my favorite cup I always seem to get a warning, some symbol that lets me know that in some ways, the spirits are looking out for me even in small ways.

Pine Pollen Honey Cakes:  nothing quite goes with a good cup of tea like biscuits, cookies and cakes.  For this year's Feast of the Pines, we made foraged pine pollen cream cakes.

Your favorite teacup or teapot might say a lot about you.  Mine say that my values lie in sentimental connections between the women in my life and myself.  That I feel connected to my elders and also to the dead.  I am feminine and maybe a little remote.  I don't do matching sets and I'm a sucker for my vices. My favorite teacup says; I'm old school, and I value memory.  I wonder what yours says about you.  I bet your favorite teacup has a wonderful memory inside it.  Rituals have a way of forming those kinds of bonds, creating a magic within the places we pour so much memory into...  I still have tea parties.  I'm not ashamed to admit it.  I'll sit on a blanket in the shade with my rabbits or teddy bears and pretend I'm at the Empress again.

Me, my tea, and my favorite teacup... and all the wonderful memories.


Happy Pride Month!

1 comment

  1. Love this! I saw that the Perennial Tea Room opened back up this week.


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