Ms Hannah Vainstein is an artist, dancer, maker, baker extraordinaire and fellow tea lover. We met over a mutual affection for our city of Santa Barbara, which she aptly described as "human size" -- that always resonated with me -- and have carried on a new friendship involving dance parties, ballerina cakes, records (she has a fabulous collection!) and alternative education practices (hippy-schooled kids can smell each other out -- "wanna make candles?!"  and "let's talk about Greek mythology!!"). This girl is a sparkly tomboy to be sure. Her tea ritual has got me jonesin for an Earl Gray Rooibos -- I've never had such a wonderful sounding thing!

What is your favorite type of tea and how do you take it? I have different types of tea for different occasions. Black tea in mornings with milk, although right now I’m not drinking milk so just with some lemon and honey, which to be honest isn’t as satisfying. I love Earl Gray Rooibos and classic after dinner tea made with fresh peppermint or lemon balm and honey. I like to serve it strong in a little cup. I supplement those cups of tea with a steady stream of Yerba Mate also with honey and lemon. As you can see I’m a schizophrenic tea drinker.

How does tea punctuate your day? I drink different teas as the day progresses. I keep a very English schedule, "shed-ule" about it: one first thing in the morning, another at 11am, a cuppa after lunch and another at 4. Then one more before bed.

My tea accompaniment of choice is: Maple stroopwafel.

Grace Jones . . . is on when I'm having tea.

I first started drinking tea when . . . I was little. However, it was while I was in the Sinai Desert traveling with a Bedoiun tribe that I experienced the tea ritual. Building the fire to boil the kettle, brewing the tea and savoring it. Tea set the rhythm of the day. The Bedouins hiked through the dessert caring a tea kettle on their back, that’s how important it is. It was this experience that informed my serving of tea as part of my art practice.

My dream tea party would include . . . My family and friends, many of them love tea too.

When I sip from my tea cup, I feel grounded and deeply satisfied.


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