Tea Tasting Around the World with the MICDS Passport Series

By Corrie Marks P’23, ’25

At the recent Diwali celebration, I obtained a handout containing the upcoming Passport Series events. Moments later, I was fortunate to have a brief conversation with Annie Sloane P’20, ’25 who excitedly told me about the upcoming Tea Tasting Around the World event, so I immediately entered that event into my calendar. As if on cue today, the weather had plunged 30 degrees overnight, begging for parkas, wool hats, and warm beverages. Upon entering Olson, I was awestruck by the festive displays.

I eagerly made the rounds starting with Sona and Vinay Kamat’s (P’18, ’24, ’25) delicious Chai along with puff pastry (representing India), Khari and glucose biscuits and Zhourat Tea courtesy of Lara Doumit P’25, ’27 and Carla Shamsham P’25, ’26, ’28 (representing Lebanon). Vivien Schlafly P’24, Jenny Loeb P’20, ’25, and Benjamin Tzeng P’28 (representing Taiwan) had quite the spread with High Mountain Oolong Tea and Upper School Chinese Teacher Lily Child’s matcha macaroons. I met Savita Tiwari P’23 years ago at a school function and have been eager to drink tea with her ever since. Savita brought cinnamon-flavored Ceylon Tea and Ginger Cookies from Sri Lanka where she spent 14 years prior to coming to the United States. Bea Ohokson P’26 (representing Nigeria), another new parent, had a harder sell with her medicinal Bitter Leaf Tea and delicious fried snacks, Chin Chin, but her passion was inspiring. Drinking tea literally fit for King George while eating chocolate biscuits and miniature scones with clotted cream and jam was something I could do all day long with Victoria Thomas P’20, ’23, ’25 (representing the United Kingdom). Bob Cullen P’25 shared Sweet Tea and Tea Cakes, a favorite in the southern United States, and Ayumi Cullen P’25 (representing Japan) served Barley Tea and two types of Japanese Green Tea along with rice cakes with red bean filling. One type of Green Tea was unique with roasted brown rice and matcha powder in it, which added a nutty flavor. Rounding the corner, I met Brondy Leung P’20, ’23 and tried Milk Tea and Egg Tart, a sweet tart that’s popularly enjoyed as dessert at Dim Sum in Hong Kong. Yen Jan P’22, ’25, ’31 brought delicious Vietnamese coffee that was smooth and rich, along with Royal Egg Rolls, a favorite of many children. Nela Navarrine P’15, ’18, ’21, ’24 (representing Argentina) showed us how Mate is consumed and enjoyed with Dulce le Leche biscuits. And a shoutout to another new parent Angela Adams P’27 (representing Korea) who shared delicious Barley Tea along with Rice Cakes with Green Tea Red Bean Paste dusted with roasted soybean powder. Perhaps, one of the event highlights had to be watching Annie (representing Australia) coach Head of School Jay Rainey into doing the Tim Tam Slam and fellow parents chanted, “Slam! Slam! Slam!” This treat was delicious and fun!

I appreciated both the similarities and differences among the varieties of teas and accompanying bites. If I’m honest, though, what I loved the most was learning about the different cultures represented today, whether in the current homes of these volunteers or in the homes/countries of their childhoods. I left the tea tasting with a very full belly and very full heart, grateful to be in such a vibrant and diverse community. The warmth extended beyond the beverages to human interactions which I have been craving. Thank you, Ayumi and the Passport Series Committee, for creating opportunities like Tea Tasting Around the World. And thank you to all the volunteers who so generously shared their time and traditions with MICDS today.

Please mark your calendars for the next event hosted by the Passport Series Committee:

Japanese Art of Flower Arrangement
Thursday, December 1
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Olson Hall Presentation Room

The Parents Association is now recruiting for the MICDS International Expo 2024! If you are passionate about international events and highlighting cultures from around the world, this committee is for you! The International Expo features student performances and highlights parent-led booths showcasing their country, heritage, and culture. Contact the Parents Association VP of Parent Education at vp.parenteducation@micds.org for more information.