Club Profile: What’s Your Cup of Tea?


The Tea Club Meets (pre-COVID)

Cherim Kang, Reporter

Led by Cherim Kang ‘21 and Nicole Chan ‘21 and advised by the English Department’s Ms. Morris, the ‘What’s Your Cup of Tea?’ Club arrived at Kent at the start of the ‘19-’20 academic year. Its mission is to provide a warm, relaxing time for students every month where they can just focus on themselves, while savoring the history, tastes and aromas of tea. 

Regarding her motivation for starting the club, Kang says that “At Kent, time is always rushing us, and I see students running from Dickinson to School House, from class to class, then rushing to sports practice and even skipping meals to finish homework. It seemed like, whether they knew it or not, everyone was deprived of much needed self-care and mindfulness. I believed more balance could be attained by taking the time to drink tea, helping us remember to focus on ourselves once in a while.”

During meetings, club members try different kinds of tea ranging from White Tea from Japan to Bubble Tea from Taiwan. Chan recalls that one of the most memorable meetings was when “Tamia and Miska Lewis, active members last year, introduced Maté, a traditional South American, caffeine-rich infused drink made by soaking dried leaves of the yerba mate plant in warm water, which became an enriching and bonding experience for all of us.” 

In addition to taking turns introducing our favorites or tea from our hometowns, being a certified teacher of ‘Dado,’ a South Korean tea ritual, Kang demonstrates ancient tea ceremonies from Asia, along with information about tea’s health benefits, and in particular, herbal teas. But no matter what the agenda is, club meetings become a time where members gather together to decompress from the stress and rigors of high school life to focus on serenity. 

Last year, club leaders and Ms. Morris discussed plans for a weekend day-trip to world-famous Harney & Sons, a local tea company in Millerton, NY to learn more about the tea making process. But the outing, unfortunately, did not transpire due to Kent’s closure in the Spring due to COVID-19. 

However, not being able to return to school last Spring did not stop the club from spreading positiviTEA while off-campus. Kang and Chan continued club meetings via Zoom, and according to Kang, Zoom meetings provided “the opportunity to share your favorite tea in your favorite mugs from your favorite place at home and share how everyone was coping in the pandemic. It became a great way to connect with friends during a scary and uncertain time.” Chan continues, that “even through Zoom, we were able to provide a small respite to everyone amid a pandemic, even discussing tea strategies to boost immunity.” 

During summer break, Kang and Chan wanted to find a way to expand their club on a broader scale and created a public online tea platform, called TEA TALK on Instagram, with the purpose of promoting wellness, cultural understanding and diversiTEA. Chan, in charge of social media communication, shared, “During a pandemic, we not only wanted to promote the benefits of tea with the rest of the world, but also introduced special recipes that you can try during lockdowns to fight off the Corona Blues.” Kang, who is in charge of illustration and graphic design, further explains, “While inspired by the ‘What’s Your Cup of Tea?’ club at Kent, with TEA TALK, we were able to spread our message and the physical and mental health benefits of tea to the world.” Now, the @whatsyourcupoftea Instagram account has more than 1000+ followers and collaborates with other non-profit organizations to promote mental health and awareness about issues that affect the BIPOC community, overall demonstrating how Kent extracurricular activities become a springboard for broader engagement with the world.