BCM320 – Autoethnography Possibili-tea!

I have a feeling this may only be the beginning of tea related puns if I pursue this avenue for my autoethnography! In the quick fire idea session within class I came up with a few different ideas. But out of nowhere and the one that has stuck with me was tea. Exploring tea across Asia, it’s history, symbolism, uses etc. I of course already have experience in tea drinking, I’m a connoisseur of the classic English breakfast! However I do know that tea has a rich history, particularly in Asia. I thought perhaps I could do an exploration of tea culture, whilst also sampling teas from all over along the way.

Admittedly I was mildly inspired by that scene from all the way back in Sherlock season 1 episode 2 with the tea ceremony. It’s probably my earliest experience with tea being about more than just something to consume.

So without knowing very much more than that, I thought I’d delve right into google and see what pops up first!

I mean it’s well known that tea originated in Asia, and can be dated back right throughout history. After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the entire world. Tea is primarily grown in Asia, and thus it’s rich history has continued as a daily ‘tea time’.

I found a very interesting blog, which I think I might actually use as the basis of my tea tasting and investigation. A bit of a jumping off point! The Homesick Foodie – An Asian Cup of Tea from Kouser Adeel lists significant teas as well as a little of the culture associated with them from different countries and regions of Asia. Japan and China both have their own tea ceremonies. Apparently Chai is also the national drink in India!

There’s a lot to go on, it’s a little overwhelming but I think I have a solid plan for my Digital Artefact in this subject. I’m going to make short videos or vlogs or perhaps just blogs trying different teas from different countries. Then I’ll do some further research into the history and culture of tea in that particular country.

For instance I have a few different teas to try out:

China: Oolong, Jasmine, Green

Thailand: Traditional Thai tea, Bubble tea

Japan: Green tea

India: Masala Chai, Dhaba Chai

I may not do all of these, it depends if I’m able to easily access them (and in small amounts!) I plan to check out some of the Asian grocers and even the bulk buy food store in Wollongong to see what is available. I’m also debating whether to splurge and buy a nicer tea set or whether to make it as authentic as I have using my one and only mug and tea strainer in my share house!!

I’m actually rather keen to try out these teas and do some further research! I enjoy tea, but haven’t really explored further that the European style, let alone the history and cultural value. I think it will be an interesting digital artefact!

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4 thoughts on “BCM320 – Autoethnography Possibili-tea!

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  1. First up – very well written, and a great project idea! However, you shouldn’t feel like you need or are obliged to buy a “nicer”, authentically “Asian” tea set (because a group of cultures, each with rich, thousand-year-old histories and aesthetics of tea consumption can clearly be condensed into a single ceramic object). Certainly, using a regular old English tea mug would create your digital artefact as a more layered account (Ellis et al., 2011) – by examining the teas of Asia through the lens of an English Breakfast drinker, you’re touching on both the familiar and the less-familiar, and your autoethnography will be richer for it. This will also make your artefact a little more generalizable for an Australian audience – very few of us own matcha kits, but most of us have at the very least a kettle and mug. You could also investigate the differences between traditional and Westernized teas – masala chai is available from both certain supermarkets and T2, but I suspect the latter might be a little tamer. Keep it up!

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  2. I can agree with you that tea, is somehow associated with “British-ish” culture I guess? Honestly, I enjoy coffee more than Tea, but I love Green Tea more than any other teas in the world, if that makes any sense?. I recently discovered that some part of Thailand mixed tea with Milk, check it out:

    It would be awesome if you could include that in your auto-ethnographic research. Anyway, great post, though it would be more awesome if you include more pictures (The different type of teas) for audience to interact with. Am looking forward to your project.

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