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Quotations about Tea


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I'm sure these quotations about tea don't even begin to scratch the surface of what's been said and written throughout history about this magical elixir brewed from an unassuming leaf, but I think it's a lovely start. Who knows how many other beautiful words and thoughts are out there, hiding from English speakers because they are in another language. My years of collected quotes on tea have been enlarged even further thanks to Google Books and lots of happy hours spent browsing old books. And as well, a thankful toast to my tea-drinking brother-from-another-mother, Rob Temple, for allowing me to use some of his Very British Problems to enhance my compilation. Cheers! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g, 2013


The most trying hours in life are between four o'clock and the evening meal. A cup of tea at this time adds a lot of comfort and happiness. ~Royal S. Copeland


So I says "My dear if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs." And we had the tea and the affairs too.... ~Charles Dickens, "Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy"


Make tea, not war. ~Monty Python


Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty. ~James Norwood Pratt


The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured coziness. ~P.G. Wodehouse


This morning's tea makes yesterday distant. ~Author Unknown


Doing nothing is respectable at tea. ~Saying quoted in Sasaki Sanmi, Sadô Saijiki


Autumn stars shine through gaps in the wall.... [H]e... brews midnight tea by the stove's ruddy light. ~From a traditional Taoist song, quoted in John Eaton Calthorpe Blofeld, The Chinese Art of Tea


I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water. ~George Orwell, "A Nice Cup of Tea," Evening Standard, 12 January 1946


...I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than 20 weak ones. All true tea-lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes.... ~George Orwell, "A Nice Cup of Tea," Evening Standard, 12 January 1946


Tea is a divine herb. ~Xu Guangqi


The sounds of the tea being made invite the peach blossoms to peep in through the window. ~Uson, quoted in Sasaki Sanmi, Sadô Saijiki


He'd never in his life been so hungry and tired. What wouldn't he give for a simple mug of tea and a humble fried egg sandwich? ~Jacqueline Kelly, Return to the Willows


Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary. ~Chinese Proverb


A cup of tea is a cup of peace. ~Soshitsu Sen XV, quoted by Kenneth S. Cohen


It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions. After eggs and bacon, it says, "Work!" After beefsteak and porter, it says, "Sleep!" After a cup of tea (two spoonsful for each cup, and don't let it stand more than three minutes), it says to the brain, "Now, rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature and into life; spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!" ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889


Having picked some tea, he drank it,
Then he sprouted wings,
And flew to a fairy mansion,
To escape the emptiness of the world....
~Chiao Jen


Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. ~Okakura Kakuzō


Water is the mother of tea, a teapot its father, and fire the teacher. ~Chinese Proverb


The first bowl washed the cobwebs from my mind —
The whole world seemed to sparkle.
A second cleansed my spirit
Like purifying showers of rain,
A third and I was one of the Immortals —
What need now for austerities
To purge our human sorrows?
Worldly people, by going in for wine,
Sadly deceive themselves.
For now I know the Way of Tea is real.
~Chio Jen


The first cup moistens my lips and throat. The second cup breaks my loneliness. The third cup searches my barren entrails but to find therein some thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration — all the wrongs of life pass out through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified. The sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals. The seventh cup — Ah! but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of the cool wind that raises in my sleeves. Where is Elysium? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither. ~Lo T'ung


Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea. ~Author Unknown


 
 
...Mr. Hanway endeavours to show, that the consumption of tea is injurious to the interest of our country.... he is to expect little justice from the author of this extract, a hardened and shameless tea drinker, who has for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant, whose kettle has scarcely time to cool, who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning. ~Samuel Johnson, 1757


There is no need to have any special attitude while drinking except one of thankfulness. The nature of the tea itself is that of no-mind. ~Pojong Sunim


The froth of tea burns with brilliance. ~Author Unknown


Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. ~T'ien Yi-heng


...The thick froth...
Lustrous like freshly fallen snow,
And resplendent like the spring's blossom.
~Du Yü, "Ode to Tea"


[T]ea... wealth of the Earth,
Blessed with the sweet spirit of Heaven.
~Du Yü, "Ode to Tea"


Where there's tea there's hope. ~Arthur Wing Pinero


Ha, ha, ha: love and scandal are the best sweetners of tea. ~Henry Fielding, "Love in Several Masques," 1727 (Lady Matchless)


Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea. I can drink any quantity when I have not tasted wine; otherwise I am haunted by blue-devils by day, and dragons by night. ~Sydney Smith, quoted in A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith: Volume I by his daughter Lady Saba Holland with A Selection From His Letters edited by Mrs. Austin, 1855


If you have one teapot
And can brew your tea in it
That will do quite well.
How much does he lack himself
Who must have a lot of things?
~Sen no Rikyū


My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody. ~Wilkie Collins


Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. ~Thich Nat Hahn


In vino Veritas. In Aqua satietas. In... What is the Latin for Tea? What! Is there no Latin word for Tea? Upon my soul, if I had known that I would have let the vulgar stuff alone. ~Hilaire Belloc, "On Tea," 1908


If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited it will calm you. ~William Ewart Gladstone


You have a Milton; but it is pleasanter to eat one's own peas out of one's own garden, than to buy them by the peck at Covent Garden; and a book reads the better, which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots and dog's-ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins, or over a pipe, which I think is the maximum. ~Charles Lamb, letter to S.T. Coleridge, 11 October 1802


...A pure wind envelopes my body.
The whole world seen in a single cup.
~Kokan (Zen priest, 1278-1346), quoted in The Japanese Way of Tea by Sen Sōshitsu XV, translated by V. Dixon Morris


[T]he Truth lies in a bowl of tea. ~Nambo Sokei


If I, the boiling water,
And you, the tea;
Then your fragrance
Has to depend solely upon my plainness....
I have to be hot, even boiled
Before we consume each other....
~Dominic Cheung (Chang Ts'o), Drifting


Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on. ~Billy Connolly


You can't get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C.S. Lewis, quoted by Walter Hooper


Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. ~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady, 1880


Though I cannot flee
From the world of corruption,
I can prepare tea
With water from a mountain stream
And put my heart to rest.
~Ueda Akinari


...a land of sheltered homes and warm firesides — firesides that were waiting — waiting, for the bubbling kettle and the fragrant breath of tea. ~Agnes Repplier, To Think of Tea!


Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things. ~Saki (H.H. Munro), "Tea"


The heartbreak of finding an empty teacup when you thought there was one gulp to go. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)


One of the shining moments of my day is that when, having returned a little weary from an afternoon walk, I exchange boots for slippers, out-of-doors coat for easy, familiar, shabby jacket, and, in my deep, soft-elbowed chair, await the tea-tray.... [H]ow delicious is the soft yet penetrating odour which floats into my study, with the appearance of the teapot!... What a glow does it bring after a walk in chilly rain! ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903


Perhaps it is while drinking tea that I most of all enjoy the sense of leisure. ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903


In nothing is the English genius for domesticity more notably declared than in the institution of this festival—almost one may call it so—of afternoon tea. Beneath simple roofs, the hour of tea has something in it of sacred; for it marks the end of domestic work and worry, the beginning of restful, sociable evening. The mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose. ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903


If she speaks, it will only be a pleasant word or two; should she have anything important to say, the moment will be after tea, not before it; this she knows by instinct. ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903 (of the housekeeper bringing the tea-tray)


The return from the walk, and the arrival of tea, should be exactly coincident, and not later than a quarter past four. ~C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, 1955


"Tea" to the English is really a picnic indoors. ~Alice Walker, The Color Purple


Teas vary as much in appearance as the different faces of men. ~Hui-tsung


She had that brand of pragmatism that would find her the first brewing tea after Armageddon. ~Clive Barker


The Muse's friend, Tea, does our fancy aid;
Repress those vapors which the head invade;
And keeps that palace of the soul serene....
~Edmund Waller, "Of Tea"


Indeed, madam, your ladyship is very sparing of your tea: I protest, the last I took was no more than water bewitch'd. ~Jonathan Swift


We had a kettle: we let it leak:
Our not repairing it made it worse.
We haven't had any tea for a week....
The bottom is out of the Universe!
~Rudyard Kipling, "Natural Theology"


Great love affairs start with champagne and end with tisane. ~Honoré de Balzac


I, my own damn self, am not a Tea Party supporter. I disagree with them on social liberties, our overseas wars, Obama's birthplace, Sarah Palin, and the conspicuous absence of tea at their rallies. ~Penn Jillette, God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales


I take pleasure in tea, appreciating it with my spirit and therefore cannot explain why. ~Sen Joo


Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company ~Author Unknown


In the country I always fear that creation will expire before tea-time. ~Sydney Smith


Come along inside... We'll see if tea and buns can make the world a better place. ~Attributed to Kenneth Grahame  {Anyone have a verifiable source for this?}


Tea! Thou soft, thou sober, sage, and venerable Liquid, thou innocent Pretence for bringing the Wicked of both Sexes together in a Morning; thou Female Tongue-running, Smile-smoothing, Heart-opening, Wink-tippling Cordial, to whose glorious Insipidity I owe the happiest Moment of my Life, let me fall prostrate thus, and s—p, s—p, s—p, thus adore thee. ~Colley Cibber, The Lady's Last Stake, 1707


Tea should be taken in solitude... ~C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, 1955


There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea. ~Bernard-Paul Heroux


If you ask Zen people they will say tea is not something that you pour with unawareness and drink like any other drink. It is not a drink, it is meditation; it is prayer. So they listen to the kettle creating a melody, and in that listening they become more silent, more alert. ~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh


Outside of a teapot life is but thousands of dusty affairs. ~Terri Guillemets


Its proper use is to amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those who cannot use exercise, and will not use abstinence. ~Samuel Johnson, "Review of 'A Journal of Eight Days Journey...' by Mr. Hanway," 1757


Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage. ~Catherine Douzel


Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence.... It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life. ~Okakura Kakuzō


The outsider may indeed wonder at this seeming much ado about nothing. What a tempest in a tea-cup! he will say. But when we consider how small after all the cup of human enjoyment is, how soon overflowed with tears, how easily drained to the dregs in our quenchless thirst for infinity, we shall not blame ourselves for making so much of the tea-cup. ~Okakura Kakuzō


In the worship of Bacchus, we have sacrificed too freely.... Why not consecrate ourselves to the queen of the Camelias, and revel in the warm stream of sympathy that flows from her altar? In the liquid amber within the ivory-porcelain, the initiated may touch the sweet reticence of Confucius... ~Okakura Kakuzō


Tea with us became more than an idealization of the form of drinking; it is a religion of the art of life.... Teaism was Taoism in disguise. ~Okakura Kakuzō


Follow Terri Guillemets' board Tea & Coffee on Pinterest.


A Proper Tea is much nicer than a Very Nearly Tea, which is one you forget about afterwards. ~A.A. Milne


Coffee is not my cup of tea. ~Samuel Goldwyn


The perfect temperature for tea is two degrees hotter than just right. ~Terri Guillemets


Discovering you've missed your tea's perfect drinking temperature by a fraction of a second. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)


"Would you like an adventure now.... or would you like to have your tea first?" Wendy said "tea first" quickly, and Michael pressed her hand in gratitude.... ~J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Ferryman, for tea, scoop up those reflections of cherry blossoms. ~Sakai Hōitsu


Today I'd like to sit and sip,
Forget about the world a bit,
Ignore the things I have to do,
And just enjoy a cup or two.
~Author Unknown


Anne.... was so pale and tragic at breakfast next morning that Marilla was alarmed and insisted on making her a cup of scorching ginger tea. Anne sipped it patiently, although she could not imagine what good ginger tea would do. Had it been some magic brew, potent to confer age and experience, Anne would have swallowed a quart of it without flinching. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


Tea is a cup of life. ~Author Unknown


...creases like the leathern boot of Tartar horsemen, curl like the dewlap of a mighty bullock, unfold like a mist rising out of a ravine, gleam like a lake touched by a zephyr, and be wet and soft like a forest floor newly swept by rain. ~Luwuh, Chaking, regarding selection of the best quality tea leaves


Accepting a cup of tea when you're in a hurry, resulting in hundreds of tiny, excruciatingly painful, rapid-fire sips. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)


Harry found the hot drink... seemed to burn away a little of the fear fluttering in his chest. ~J.K. Rowling


Tea is liquid wisdom. ~Anonymous


The first sip of tea is always the best... you cringe as it burns the back of your throat, knowing you just had the hottest carpe-diem portion. ~Terri Guillemets


I declare,... a man who wishes to make his way in life could do nothing better than go through the world with a boiling tea-kettle in his hand. ~Sydney Smith, quoted in A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith: Volume I by his daughter Lady Saba Holland with A Selection From His Letters edited by Mrs. Austin, 1855


Tea purifies spirit, removes anxiety and nervousness, brings ease and comfort, and is conducive to meditation. ~Author Unknown


Tea is also a sort of spiritual refreshment, an elixir of clarity and wakeful tranquility. Respectfully preparing tea and partaking of it mindfully create heart-to-heart conviviality, a way to go beyond this world and enter a realm apart. No pleasure is simpler, no luxury cheaper, no consciousness-altering agent more benign. ~James Norwood Pratt


Our camp-kettle, filled from the brook, hummed doubtfully for a while, then busily bubbled under the sidelong glare of the flames—cups clinked and rattled—the fragrant steam ascended; and soon this little circlet in the wilderness grew warm and genial as my lady's drawing-room. ~Alexander William Kinglake


England a fortune-telling host,
As num'rous as the stars, could boast;
Matrons, who toss the cup, and see
The grounds of Fate in grounds of tea....
~Charles Churchill (1731-1764), The Ghost


Never concentrating so hard than when manoeuvring a full cup of tea whilst lying down. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)


A true warrior, like tea, shows his strength in hot water. ~Chinese Proverb


Remember the tea kettle, although it is up to its neck in hot water it keeps on singing. ~Author unknown, first printed in 1914 anonymously as "Optimism is a cheerful frame of mind which enables a tea kettle to whistle and sing although it is up to its neck in hot water all the time," above differently worded version later made popular in the early 1930s by Szczepau Anton "Tony" Wons (1891-1965)


...Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?
~Rupert Brooke, "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester," 1912
(Thanks, Helen)


The man breathed in deeply—of rosebuds and mint, of sunny meadows and salty cliffs, of streams in no hurry and the sound of bagpipes. ~Ethel Pochocki, Wildflower Tea, 1993


O' peppermint tea —
two delights per sip
as steamy hot as passion
cool as a wintry lake dip
~Terri Guillemets


The overwhelming sorrow of finding a cup of tea you forgot about. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)


So of all the particulars of health and exercise, and fit nutriment, and tonics. Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims, "Inspiration"


If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. ~Japanese Proverb


When the news reporter said "Shopkeepers are opening their doors bringing out blankets and cups of tea " I just smiled. It's like yes. That's Britain for you. Tea solves everything. You're a bit cold? Tea. Your boyfriend has just left you? Tea. You've just been told you've got cancer? Tea. Coordinated terrorist attack on the transport network bringing the city to a grinding halt? Tea dammit! And if it's really serious, they may bring out the coffee. The Americans have their alert raised to red, we break out the coffee. That's for situations more serious than this of course. Like another England penalty shoot-out. ~Jslayeruk, as posted on Metaquotes Livejournal, in response to the July 2005 London subway bombings


...Tea, although an Oriental,
Is a gentleman at least;
Cocoa is a cad and coward,
Cocoa is a vulgar beast...
~G.K. Chesterton, The Flying Inn, 1914


Our trouble is that we drink too much tea. I see in this the slow revenge of the Orient, which has diverted the Yellow River down our throats. ~J.B. Priestley


Iced tea is too pure and natural a creation not to have been invented as soon as tea, ice, and hot weather crossed paths. ~John Egerton


American-style iced tea is the perfect drink for a hot, sunny day. It's never really caught on in the UK, probably because the last time we had a hot, sunny day was back in 1957. ~Tom Holt


Iced tea may not have as much wisdom as hot tea, but in the summer better a cool and refreshed dullard than a steamy sweat-drenched sage — leave sagacity to the autumn! ~Terri Guillemets


Tea is instant wisdom — just add water! ~Astrid Alauda


Picture you, upon my knee,
Just tea for two, and two for tea.
~Irving Caesar


tea leaves
tea loves
loves tea
lives tea
leaves tea?
never.
~Uniek Swain


Deciding to spice up the morning by filling the kettle slightly past the recommended level, then thinking better of it. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)


When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad; and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over, and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries. ~Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows


As the centerpiece of a cherished ritual, it's a talisman against the chill of winter, a respite from the ho-hum routine of the day. ~Sarah Engler, "Tea Up," Real Simple magazine, February 2006


Top off the tea... it lubricates the grey matter. ~Good Neighbors, quoted from stashtea.com


My kettle coughs a steamy tea. ~Terri Guillemets


Being required by law to say the word "lovely" immediately after taking the first sip of a new tea. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)



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