The love and popularity of tea has transcended time, geography and culture. It has without a doubt reached the status of an enduring staple. And what better place to see this timeless love of tea reflected back to us than on screen? Whether it’s movies or TV, our cultural preoccupation with tea can be seen across a wide range of popular mediums. And in the spirit of celebrating just some of the instances in which our love of tea meets our love of the arts, it feels appropriate to mention the upcoming Forest City Film Festival happening in London, Ontario from October 23rd to the 27th, 2019.
The Forest City Film Festival celebrates the art of cinema through a regional lens with a focus on national and global films and filmmakers connected to Southwestern Ontario. It’s a festival that honours successes, showcase new, compelling artists and inspires future ones. For more information on the festival, tickets and showtimes, visit https://www.forestcityfilmfest.ca/.
So with that, steep a pot, sit back, relax and enjoy this list of six great tea moments in film and television.
1. The Mad Hatter
The Hatter (or the Mad Hatter), Lewis Carroll’s iconic character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland loves tea. And I mean really loves tea. Whether it’s the 1865 novel, the 1951 Disney classic, or the numerous other stage, television or movie adaptations of the work, the “Mad Tea Party” in which the Hatter, Alice and other cohorts spout confounding riddles, tell stories and of course indulge in tea, is an enduring image. And even though the Hatter’s perpetual tea drinking began as a punishment handed down from the evil Queen of Hearts in which he is forever forced to live life at 6pm (tea time), you get the sense that he would be drinking a fresh cup regardless.
Illustration by: John Tenniel
2. Mary Poppins
First written in a series of books by Australian-British writer P.L Travers, and then immortalized in Disney movies, Mary Poppins is an enduring figure of childhood whimsy and fantasy. And, as indicated by the 1964 movie starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, she’s also a lover of tea. Whether it’s the scene in which she and Bert are seemingly served tea by a quartet of waiter penguins, or her surreal tea party on the ceiling with Uncle Albert and company, Mary Poppins immensely enjoys her tea like her other British comrades. That said, she does enjoy it in more, shall we say, unorthodox ways.
3. Downton Abbey
From Maggie Smith’s indelible performance as the Dowager Countess, to the countless other members of the Crawley family, the characters of PBS’s hit Downton Abbey have become enduring fictional figures. The show has garnered praise from fans and critics alike and it has recently been turned into a feature length film. Unsurprisingly, tea is a constant staple over the course of the show and in the lives of the aristocratic Crawleys. More than just a drink that was served constantly, the ritualistic traditions surrounding teatime in the show are distinct markers of the class in which the Crawleys move around in. Tea time is also depicted as a vehicle for fostering social interaction and generating the gossip that fuelled so much of the drama that kept fans glued to their screens.
Image courtesy of Mystery Playground
4. Samurai Jack
For those who are unaware of Genndy Tartakovsky’s cult-classic animated series Samurai Jack, it follows a Japanese samurai who is locked in a time-travelling battle with a shapeshifting demon. Now, that premise may not be up your alley, but the show is also filled with quiet, contemplative scenes like the one below. In this gorgeously-animated sequence, Jack performs a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in which he prepares tea for an old monk. And while the scene may not be entirely accurate when compared to the hyper-specific traditions of these ceremonies, it does capture the serene beauty inherent in the tea-making process. It painstakingly captures what we all love about tea at one point or another — its consistent ability to instil a profound sense of peace.
5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
In Douglas Adams’s classic novel, and the subsequent movie, Arthur Dent is a hapless, ordinary British man who becomes the last surviving member of planet earth after its demolition to make way for a galactic superhighway. Caught in a spaceship in his bathrobe in the enormity of space, all Arthur craves is a cup of tea. Unfortunately for him, all he has access to is the Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser. Despite the machine’s sophisticated ability to analyze the human body to construct a drink that would most desirable for that person, it falls woefully short of Arthur’s expectations and desires. In Douglas Adams’s immortal words, it gave Arthur a drink that was “almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.” So the next time you’re craving a cup of tea to restore balance to your personal world, remember: it could be worse.
6. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
It’s fitting that for our last entry in this list, we turn back to the immortal Maggie Smith, who turns 85 this year. In The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a movie she made back in 2015, Maggie revives the character of Muriel Donnelly, a retiree from Britain who moves to India, and who happens to be a rather picky tea drinker. In one specific scene, she flies off the handle at a poor server who dares to bring her lukewarm water and a tea bag separately. As the server quickly finds out, the water is to be boiling hot and tea already steeped. As committed tea drinkers, we can all agree that Muriel’s frustration is well-founded. When you have a craving, only the proper preparation will do. Who has time for a subpar cup of tea?
Indulge in Your Own Cup. Shop the Tea Haus Today!
Now that we’ve peaked your interest, it’s time to indulge in your own favourite tea. The Tea Haus carries a variety of over 200 teas, herbal infusions, and tea-ware. Shop our website in order to find every sort of tea you can think of — from black tea, green tea, Oolong, white tea, decaffeinated tea, Rooibos, and herbal wellness infusions.