Tea-drinking, known to have taken place in China in the third century A.D., came into its own during the Tang dynasty. The beloved beverage has long played a role in shaping societies, art, politics, and economies. With a pair of exhibitions focusing on Japanese tea culture now on view at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, now is the perfect time take a look at tea’s rich global history and its wide range of varieties.
Join presenters Louise Cort, curator of ceramics at Freer and Sackler Galleries; Michael Harney, vice president of Harney & Sons Tea, a New York-based family business; and Calli O’Brien, director of sales and marketing for DoMatcha, a line of Japanese green teas. They provide insights into the customs that surround tea drinking; the beautiful vessels created to store, brew, and serve it; the history of matcha, a specialized tea with ancient traditions; and the industries that grew up around the cultivation, processing, and distribution of tea.
Afterward, sample an array of teas—and perhaps discover a new variety to add to your own list of favorites.
Smithsonian and Other Connections
Learn more about the current exhibitions Chigusa and the Art of Tea at the Sackler through July 27, and the Freer’s Chinese Ceramics for Tea in Japan, on view through September 14.
Brew a fresh mug of your favorite blend and check the United Kingdom Tea Council’s real-time counter that shows how many cups of tea are being consumed in the UK today.