Teatime with Farah Khawaja

Teatime with Farah: Cups of Nostalgia


This week we spoke to Farah Khawaja, our wholesale community manager, and her experiences with making and drinking tea.


While daily rituals keep us grounded and balanced, beverages we tend to consume during the day as a part of our routines are central to maintaining that steadiness. Tea is evidently that beverage which becomes a marker of time during the day, brings a family together or a ritual that simply helps in communing with oneself. For Farah, coffee is definitely her morning drink, but tea doesn’t fall behind in adding a boost to her mornings or even afternoons! She prefers to brew her tea and add milk to it separately. Born to individuals of Thai and Pakistani descent and growing up in New York, Farah has seen tea boiled with milk and sugar being consumed by her parents as an important part of their routine. Reflecting on the role of tea in her life, she believes that it is closely connected to warm feelings of nostalgia.  


In a pleasant reminiscing of some instances related to tea from her childhood,  Farah narrates the time when she had been 6 years or so and at a cousin’s place. She remembers him eating butter toast by dunking them in his chai and being instantly tempted by this. While she did not drink chai as a child, she felt that impulse of wanting to dunk her butter toast into her cousin’s chai before eating it. Her memories of tea are imbued with such happy and lively instances. Be it with the quintessential morning tea or an evening cup with friends or family, cookies or biscuits no doubt are a good accompaniment to the beverage. Dunking has a place in cultures the world over and it has definitely come a long way for us to understand that it renders baked goods tasty and irresistible, leaving us craving for more!


Farah also says that the concept of spiced tea (masala chai)  is new for her as tea in her family is usually consumed by simply boiling it with milk and sugar; cardamom pods are used or the Kashmiri noon chai is an occurrence only when there are guests in the house. Thus for Farah and her family, drinking tea is much more than simply pouring hot water over a tea bag from your local grocery store; it is a habit, a conscious practice, capable of bringing people together or poke at sentimentalities of time that has passed.