TeaHaus has been bringing the love of quality loose leaf tea to Ann Arbor for almost 15 years. Much ink has been spilled on the value of tea drinking for adults, but what about for children and families?
For Lisa McDonald, founder and owner of TeaHaus, the value of fostering a love for tea in families all comes down to creating a space for calm and peace. Lisa says, “Tea slows us down — it takes time to brew. And there’s something important about our children slowing down and waiting for something.”
TeaHaus is for Everyone
Lisa shared an anecdote of a family coming into TeaHaus and ordering tea for their children. The children immediately asked, “When is the tea coming?” A 3- to 5-minute wait doesn’t seem like a long timeframe, but in a world of instant gratification, 3- to 5-minutes can be impactful, especially for younger children.
Lisa notes, “You have to take 3- to 5-minutes for the water to boil, and there’s nothing you can do about that. It’s science. You really have to wait for the water to go from starting temperature to boiling.”
We need to take moments to reflect, to be still, and to just be. We don’t need to be doing things all the time. Lisa notes, “There is value in having nothing to do, even for 3 minutes.” Countless studies in childhood development back her up: children need to experience periods of nothingness, of boredom, to develop creativity, self-motivation, and the ability to be present.
To make tea accessible to children and young people, Lisa encourages people to step away from the cliché fancy traditional tea. “We put too much emphasis in America on proper English tea parties, which is ironic because, in England, they don’t often do that!”
Lisa has two sons who are both prolific tea drinkers — one wanted a Star Wars-themed tea party for his birthday but received some judgmental commentary about being a boy and wanting a tea party. Lisa encourages people to realize that tea is a beverage, not a gendered exclusionary thing: “Tea is not just pretty little teacups and girly parties — anyone can drink it! The most important part of a ritual is just taking time to enjoy it. And making tea something that excludes people, just because they want it, is so sad. People say to me all the time, ‘I want to bring my granddaughter for tea!’ That’s great! But why not also your grandson? He can enjoy tea, too!”
Tea Offers Communal Benefits
Lisa sees the biggest benefit in her family in its community and social aspect. “Anytime we take a moment to pause and breathe, we connect. Whether we’re just waiting 5 minutes for the water to boil or we actually have the time to sit down and chat over a cup of tea, the emotional impact of being present and in the moment is so impactful for my kids.”
For families whose children are new to tea, Lisa recommends picking up 2 or 3 fruit teas to brew strongly. You can then store them in the refrigerator as concentrate to add to sparkling water. For the adults, they can make a great cocktail base! Fruit tea can be an incredibly healthy alternative to a juice box or pop. Lisa encourages parents to let their children add sugar if they want. “If they want their fruit tea a bit sweeter, they can add a teaspoon of sugar and it will still be 9 teaspoons less than most juices or pop.”
As a fellow tea drinker myself, I can attest that iced fruit teas are amazing during our hot Michigan months. As the fall’s cool mornings and evenings approach, hot tea never gets cold. Check out TeaHaus’s over 175 teas online or pop by to chat to their staff in person!
204-206 N. 4th Ave., Ann Arbor. 734-622-0460. teahaus.com.