I have often brought tea into the classroom discussions, especially during our unit on British Imperialism and the Opium Wars. Many students at my school take Chinese (I took two years in college myself before teaching English in China) and are interested to study the links between British tea drinking and the Opium Wars. Along those lines, I have a package of “Ty Phoo Tea” on my desk which students are interested to learn was a British transliteration of the Chinese (dai-fu) 大夫 meaning doctor. Typically they learn 医生 (yi-sheng) as doctor instead, but they like to take this little bit of info back to their Chinese teachers which creates an opportunity for cross-disciplinary learning.

TyPhoo Tea

I plan on bringing the cultivation video below into future classes because it does such an excellent job of showing the industrialization the traditional practice of cultivating tea. And I hope someday we have the chance to once again do “tea tastings” with the students in a maskless classroom environment.

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