Sipping Stuff: My Very First Tea Set

Tea is much for fun to sip when you sip out of fancy cups! I started collecting tea accessories three years ago, and now every trip I go on and every tea shop I pass I grab something new for my collection. Here’s the story…

In 2012 we jetted off to Vietnam for three and a half weeks. Seems like a long time for one place, but we really wanted to dive in and learn, eat and explore one culture to its maximum potential. We worked our way north up the coast, stopping in big cities and little villages. And then we found a tiny coastal village that would change the way we looked at the world.

10628007_10152685712273610_4145864692569733804_nHoi An is one of my favourite cities I’ve experienced in my 27 years on this earth. It was a wonderful mix of modern and ancient Vietnamese lifestyle. While wondering the streets one afternoon, we stumbled upon Reaching Out Tea House. I was so excited (being a tea enthusiast), but the experience was much more special than we expected.

All the staff working at the tea house were deaf, couldn’t speak, or both. Because of this, silence was encouraged. No talking, just listening and looking. You ordered your tea with Jenga blocks that had their teas written on them. You ordered your sides and snacks in the same fashion. It was amazing. In the hustle and bustle of a tiny Asian town this place showed us what it was like to take a step back, relax, and just listen to the sounds around you.

10395164_10152685712193610_7296030252412985977_nAfter about an hour and a half of enjoying only the sounds of nature and the quiet street outside, one of the waitresses motioned us to follow her. Travelling though some back alleyways, we finally came to their sister company: Reaching Out Vietnam. It wasn’t your average art shop. We learned that during the Vietnam War, Hoi An was hit very hard with the chemicals the U.S. dumped on towns. Because of this, generations of people in this town are born with disabilities. Reaching Out is a place for those with disabilities to find work and express themselves through art. The art is sold at the gallery, and each piece is a one-of-a-kind original.

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It was here that I fell in love with my very first tea set. I purchased it and shipped it home, praying it wouldn’t break on the trip. Since visiting this remarkable town, I’ve been collecting other tea sets that come with sentimental value.

I’m hoping to expand my collection on our next trip planned in Portugal where we’ll be visiting tea farms on remote islands off the coast. Stay tuned!

Do you have any tea cups, pots or sets you’d like to share? Email sippingsimply@gmail.com.

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