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Sipping from cross-cultural cups

As curious minds flocked into Fritz Pavilion, soothing herbal aromas floated through the room. Smiling attendees gathered around circular tables, drinking from white paper cups and pondering which hot beverage to sample next. 

The International Student and Scholar Services (ISS), along with Miami Activities and Programming (MAP) and Late Night Miami hosted their Tea Tasting event last Friday, Oct. 4 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event occurs every semester, and it consists of different clubs and groups of students working together to set up different stations in Armstrong Student Center where different teas are displayed.

“The event was started in 2017, and I started at Miami in 2018, and it seemed like a great event that we should keep going and try to make bigger and better,”  said Dan Sinetar, program coordinator of ISS. “We [ISS] partner with MAP and Late Night Miami and, hopefully, they would feel the same way: that this has become one of their big ‘anchor’ events of the late night schedule.”

Representatives from the Native American Student Association (NASA) served sassafras tea at the event.

“Sassafras tea is the tea native to the Native Americans here in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, before they were removed,” said Joshua McCoy, a sophomore computer science major and President of NASA. “I’m a member of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, so this tea is one that’s still made in our community today, so we’re just here to tell people about our tea and serve our tea.”

The Luxembourg at Miami club (LUAM) offered three different teas at their table.  

“One is chamomile, another is Stinging Nettle, and there’s one more that’s specifically from Luxembourg,” said Felix Jenn, vice president of LUAM.  “The third one is pretty popular in our country and I think it’s really good, too. It’s from the North of the country, and a lot of people drink it.”

The difference between this semester’s event compared to past events was that the Tea Tasting was shared with Global Spa Night. The Japanese Culture and Language Club (JCLC) scheduled the spa night last semester, and were glad to find out about the merged events.

“I was happy to hear about it,” said Josie Masset, a senior studio arts and interactive media studies major and President of JCLC. “We’ve been a part of tea tasting for the last three years. It always has a really good showing and it’s a very relaxing thing, so before I even thought about us merging, just the fact that we were going to be combined seemed like a good thing.” 

Some Miami undergraduates said that they would go to Tea Tasting when it happens next because it was “fun to try new things while meeting new people,”said first-year Summer Foss.

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“I have a friend that’s in the tea club, and she said that I needed to come because I love tea,” Foss said. “I love the honey citrus tea so far.” 

Along with trying the hot beverages, there were a few activities and games set up for students to partake in. One was a guessing game that involved diverse languages.

“At each of the tables, we have the word for ‘tea’ written in different native languages on cards, and we’ll have students choose some of those language cards and choose what language that their ‘tea’ word is in,” Sinetar said. “That’s the fun of it; to bring everyone together and all of the different groups of friends who are into [tea] and to get them to check out some other stuff that they might not be as familiar with.”