Some people like tea; some people LOVE tea. If you’re reading this blog, you probably fall into one of those categories. Then again, there are people who consider a day without tea a crisis of biblical proportions, and dunking a criminal offense. You might even be one of those—which is fine. We’re not here to judge.
The point is, there are tea people. From kings and presidents to writers and artists, plenty of folk have declared their passion for liquid happiness. So much so, that tea-drinkers have become a part of our popular culture. Here are a few examples:
1. Mary Poppins
Ok, let’s start with the obvious: in both books by Pamela Travers and movies, Mary Poppins taught us that a spoonful of sugar might help the medicine go down, but nothing calms the nerves like a proper cuppa. Our favorite flying nanny may’ve been a textbook example of sophisticated manners, but she turned teatime into an art form. — even flying nannies. Whether she was sharing a spot around an aloft table with her laughing, floating charges, or being served by penguins inside a chalk drawing, tea time was a priority for Ms. Poppins…which seems only proper.
2 Jean-Luc Picard
What better cure for an over-indulgence of Romulan Ale than a spot of “Earl Grey. Hot.”? Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commander of Star Trek’s U.S.S. Enterprise, regularly traveled where no one had gone before. When it came to teatime, however, his choice was much more down-to-earth. It’s oddly comforting to think that no matter big our universe is, people in the future could still find comfort in the second-oldest beverage known to man (the first, of course, being water … which we’ve heard doesn’t go nearly as well with a photon torpedo.)
3 Alice in Wonderland
The riddles are ridiculous, the dishes are dirty, and the host? Well, he’s stark raving mad. Still, it could be argued that Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter is the single most recognizable tea-lover in the world of fiction. The Mad Hatter’s tea party qualifies as one of the most colorful such gatherings in literature … enough so to leave readers wondering if perhaps the participants weren’t dropping more than their napkins. Alice herself labeled it “the stupidest tea party I ever was at in all my life.” That’s as may be, but you can’t say it isn’t memorable.
4 Dowager Countess of Grantham
Played to perfection by Dame Maggie Smith, the grand lady from PBS’s acclaimed drama Downton Abbey can often be seen enjoying a cup or serving some up for guests. This is the epitome of what we think of as Brits drinking tea…so much so that it could almost fall into a well-worn cliché. The writers are better than that, though, and use tea as a broader trope, giving it the role of historical time-stamp, as well as subtle commentator on class and food in the early 20th century. It also serves as a meeting place to exchange ideas and … observations: the origins of the modern-day water cooler.
Taking time for yourself has been shown to keep people healthy, more mindful and more productive. So take a cue from pop culture and sit down with a nice steaming cup of tea.