Teja Ream is an artist, dreamer, mother and creative director, last and certainly most important, she is my great friend. We met in my dad's photo class (the only one I ever got to take!) as her life was taking a big u-turn shifting from English to fine art and I was about to embark upon my first year as an art student. This was a pivotal summer for both of us, our lives in such flux and transformation-- When we connected and instantly invited each other for (you guessed it!) a cup of glorious black tea at a grungy Isla Vista cafe, the sparks flew and it was on. Our friendship hasn't changed much since that cloudy June day in 2001.
Teja's talents are too diverse to list, but the girl is a creative powerhouse as well as a great mom and wife. She writes, creates, thinks, directs -- a general make @*^& happen person, wherever her ideas takes her, she goes forth with a path blazing behind. She made life sized white unicorns from porcelain and plaster without ever stepping foot in a sculpture studio for goodness sakes! Her 3 year-old daughter Elsa is a chip off the old block, and has stolen my heart much like her mother.
What is your favorite type of tea and how do you take it? It is hard to pick a favorite tea. Right now, I am enamored with Earl Grey . . . I like all kinds, but currently I am drinking Mighty Leaf's Organic Earl grey. I love the fragrance of the tea, the hint of Bergamot. Is it strange to say that i find it overwhelming? It hits my brain's happy spot for fragrance. I like to let it seep for 3 minutes and then i add a couple spoonfuls of wildflower honey (I am particular about my honey as well, the store bought variety can be a real hit or miss, but the local farmer market variety tend to be good. I like a light blonde honey, usually its wildflowers.) I also add whole organic milk so that its a pale taupe color when i drink it
How does tea punctuate your day? I try to be careful with how much caffeine I have. So I tend to limit myself to two cups a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. I would say that if I err on having it once a day, I like it at night after dinner, usually around 8. When it first hits me, I feel relaxed instantly. The fragrance, the hot steam, the sweetness . . . It is the trigger that makes me feel like the day melts away.
My tea accompaniment of choice is: I do love sometimes those chocolate covered shortbread cookies as an accompaniment to my tea. Recently I read Prousts Swann's Way and have been meaning to pick up some madelines to try.
In the work week I tend to drink my tea when I am reading in the evenings, checking emails, settling in an armchair talking to my husband . . . is on when I'm having tea.
I first started drinking tea when . . . I have been drinking tea for as long as i have a memory to remember. My family is Chinese by way of Jamaica (former British colony) so the culture of tea is deeply established. I cannot recall anyone drinking coffee, and family holiday events ALWAYS end in brimming cups of tea (and of course dessert).
My dream tea party would include . . . You know, I think I have already had so many wonderful tea experiences. Immediately, I recall afternoon tea service on the shores of the Pacific at the 4 Seasons Biltmore Hotel with my dear friend Leela. Sitting in overstuffed couches and pillows, in front of a fireplace with open doors to the sparkling ocean on a perfect 75 degree day in Montecito.
When I sip from my tea cup, I . . . I love the intimacy of tea. I love languid afternoons with good friends and dappled sun and a gentle breeze. As i think of it now, I think tea for me is about that connection and intimacy with another person. Nowadays, a million things ring, beep, alert, push a notification at you for you to fractionalize your time, but my ideal tea party really celebrates being in that moment with a good friend.