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Although this little book does indeed talk about tea and even includes recipes for tea blends and suggestions for serving tea, it's really more about Becca Stevens's work with troubled women, the founding of the Thistle Stop Cafe in Nashville, and the way that tea--as a drink and as a symbol--brings the world together.
Stevens is an Episcopal priest at Vanderbilt University and has made it one of her missions to help and empower women who have faced adversity and have survived acts of violence. Besides founding a shelter (Magdalene) and a small shop (Thistle Farms), she, with the help of many others, opened the cafe, which provides much more than solace to its customers. It's a women-owned and run business that operates under fair trade practices for tea pickers around the world.
Stevens uses tea as a springboard for musings about a number of things from meditation and ritual to politics, history, and workers' rights. Throughout, we hear directly from the women who have sought shelter and help from Stevens and those who have been instrumental in furthering the principles of the Thistle Stop Cafe. The blending of the history and production of tea with the importance of working for social justice is thought provoking.
Although Becca Stevens's The Way of Tea and Justice is a bit more Christian than my normal reading, it made me grateful for the people who devote their lives to helping others and for giving hope and new life to women who would otherwise be lost. Brew yourself a cup of your favorite blend and spend an afternoon with Stevens.
If we knew which cup would be our last, we would sip it differently and taste it with all that we are.Published by Hachette Book Group / Jericho Books, 2014
Source: Review (see review policy)
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