Community Tea in Thailand: Bree Tells her Tale
This time last year, I returned to northeastern Thailand for the third time.
Always a drinker of tea, and further inspired by my experiences as a tea-tender at Samovar Tea Lounge, I arrived loaded with an assortment of tea and tea ware that I hoped would last me through the Fall. After introducing friends and co-workers to the delicious tea that I had brought from San Francisco, an idea was born to create a community space and to use tea as the vehicle for encouraging conversation, art, music, and the exchange of ideas.
In October, I traveled with my good friend, Adisak, to his home in Northern Thailand. In the mountains of Mae Salongwe, we found thriving fields of tea and a family of tea masters creating really delicious teas. Together, Adisak and I harvested, processed, and returned to our developing tea house with organic tea from a small family farm.
Within one week of our return, the doors opened to Wong Nam Cha, our non-profit, donation-based, volunteer-run teahouse in the city of Khon Kaen. Wong Nam Cha, (which translates as “Circle of Tea” from Thai) is set beside a lake and underneath the 7 looming tiers of Khon Kaen’s most beautiful temple.
Wong Nam Cha is a monetary and non-monetary donation-based tea house. Our community has adorned the space with a random arrangement of donated desks, chairs, and decorations. The in-house bi-lingual library is also made-up entirely of donations. Friends sell their local handicrafts (including natural tie-dyed and hand-bound notebooks made by primary school students), handmade baked goods and other Thai snacks.
To think that, with the help of a community of friends, a teahouse can be born from a few shared sips of tea and inspiration.
In my next blog entry, I will go more into detail about harvesting the organic tea in Mae Salongwe.
-Bree for Samovar Life