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Tea party at the University Center

With posters, flags, tea cups and sweet stations representing five different countries, the I-Lounge on Tuesday night looked more similar to Disney’s Epcot than the second floor of the UC.

The Asian American Student Association (AASA) and Sigma Lambda Gamma co-hosted a tea-sampling event, which offered the more than 30 students in attendance the opportunity to sample teas from England, China, Japan, India and Iran.

Students also learned about the origins and development of tea and witnessed a live tea ceremony.

Vanessa Ferrera, who was working at the blood drive in the UC flamingo ballrooms, said she was compelled to attend the event because she was in the area and intrigued by the “interesting set-up.” The event display included an ornamental black tea set and box filled with sand and white flowers positioned in front of a black and white folding screen.

Manned by students adorned in the traditional garb of their respective countries, each station provided a brief history of the tea unique to their region and offered attendees an array of sample teas, cookies, dried fruit and sugar cubes.

The teas were researched and purchased from specialty sources, said Gloria Chow, president of AASA, though many of the teas can also be purchased at Publix.

The event concluded with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Three female students demonstrated the meticulous steps that must be followed in order to perform a proper tea ceremony, while a narrator explained each step and its significance.

After the ceremony was completed, the students offered to teach attendees how to perform the steps.

“[Tea] is like a sacrament to some people,” said Ethan Cohen, a junior. Cohen attended the event with his friend, junior Lorenzo Ottoviano, who added “We’ve become obsessed with tea.”

Stephanie Genuardi may be contacted at s.genuardi@umiami.edu.

November 1, 2007

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