It’s easy to find tea lovers in Asia, but the task is much harder in most of the West.
Specialty tea isn’t mainstream.
Where I live is even worse, because there’s a strong coffee culture.
So I tend to drink tea alone most of the time.
Most of the tea enthusiasts that I know personally are either living in the US or in Japan.
And although my wife does drink tea, she isn’t that much into it.
I mean, she’ll drink tea each day, but she isn’t normally interested in having a long tea session of different teas with more people.
There’s a big tea community online, but it’s not the same as physically sharing a cup of tea.
Anyway, I do have some local tea friends.
About 5 of them. But I spend the most time with just one.
We became close friends through tea, drinking together about once or twice every two weeks.
And we also chat in WhatsApp two or three times each week.
My friend is much more knowledgeable than me regarding Chinese teas, and his tea stash is much larger than mine.
We often trade teas and taste new ones together.
Every once in a while, we manage to bring another friend into a tea session.
I find that drinking tea with friends gives me a sense of belonging.
The locals consider loose leaf tea drinking to be something odd.
I don’t like to drink coffee, wine, nor beer, which is are much more popular in this country than tea.
By they way, I do like to drink alcohol every once in a while. Strong liquors like rum, tequila and mezcal.
But it isn’t something that I can do often. It’s not good for the mind and body, not to mention my finances.
The people that know me and aren’t into tea (in other words, most of them) think that I’m just weird.
Well, I guess that I am sort of strange, now that I think about it.
Can’t do anything about that.
Anyway, drinking tea with friends leads to meaningful conversations and deeper social bonding.
Tea tastes much better with friends.
I can remember many special occasions when I was drinking tea with someone.
Whenever I have a very special tea, I prefer to share it.
It’s just not so fun to drink tea by myself all the time, no matter how good a specific tea is.
Although drinking tea alone is better than doing nothing.
In the future, I would also like to travel for tea tourism and meet new people through tea.
That would be great.
Some day when my budget allows it.