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  • Allyson Givens

Students Sample Teas, Sweets, During International Tea Ceremony

More than 50 students sampled tea and sweets from across the world at the Department of World Languages and Cultures’ Intercultural Tea Ceremony Feb. 23.

In coordination with the Center for International Studies and Programs, Arabic language program, Japanese language program, and Asian Studies Director, the department hosted the event for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Ornate teapots and tea containers decorated three divided sections of the classroom, representing Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese culture at the event. Students and faculty shared conversations while testing up to nine different types of tea and a variety of biscuits, cakes, and red-bean confectionaries.

The Japanese Tea Ceremony Club, revived after the reintroduction of the fall tea ceremony course, encouraged the participants to kneel alongside them as they hand-whisked matcha and introduced typical tea ceremony equipment and decorations.

The nontraditional course is one of few across the United States. Professor Mariko Johnston offers the class annually to students who have completed introductory Japanese language courses. Students learn the intricate history of the ancient art, how to be a polite guest and knowledgeable host, and how to whisk the perfect bowl of matcha.

Also at the event, Asian Studies Director Dr. An Chung Cheng, showed a video about the deep-rooted origins of tea in China. Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the country, and it is one of its oldest exported products. Its 3,000-year old background leaves much to be discovered for tea enthusiasts.

The department plans to continue hosting the Intercultural Tea Ceremony on an annual basis.


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