A lot of people think that tearooms are cosmopolitan in nature. They think that tearooms, as awesome and sophisticated as they may be, are best located in the middle of some sort of city. It’s easy to see why people think that the modern-day tearoom should be in the heart of some sort of urban environment. After all, people, for the longest time who had money and who are viewed to have quite a bit of sophistication, breeding and education, tended to congregate in cities.
Well, this is a very outdated idea because we’ve gone a long way since tea became really big in Victorian England. In fact, tea became popular in England starting in the late 1600s. That’s how far back tea goes as far as the British experience is concerned.
Just like with any kind of activity, a whole set of mythology and cultural values and traditions grew up around this practice. Just like with any other set of traditions, it’s only a matter of time until it gets challenged. It’s only a matter of time until it changes with the times.
Not surprisingly, thanks to the spread of suburbs made possible by the invention of the car and the modern highway, people have been moving to the suburbs. Starting in the 1950s, millions upon millions of Americans and Western Europeans no longer feel that they need to live in the middle of the city to feel that they are close to everything that’s important in society.
You only need to hop open some sort of highway for you to get to where you need to go whether it’s a courthouse, a symphony hall, an opera, you name it. Whatever the case may be, the highway system has thoroughly changed a wide range of cultural concepts in Western Europe.
The tearoom is not immune to these changes. This is why a lot of tea rooms now are located not just in the suburbs. Those are too civilized, believe it or not. We’re talking about foothills or even wilderness areas.
If you think about it, tearooms located in these frontier areas actually deliver the best of both worlds. You get to commune with nature, you get to step out of your daily routine and you also enjoy a more open-minded, holistic and natural community involved in the tea-setting practice. Again, it’s the best of both worlds.
Like with any trend, it does come with its own set of challenges. If you’re out there, power is not always environmentally friendly. It really would be quite ironic for a tearoom to relocate in the middle of nowhere touting itself as some sort of ecological an environmental vanguard, only to use electricity from a coal-burning plant. Talk about hypocrisy.
This is why a lot of tearooms that are truly environmentally conscious are setting up with the best solar generator systems. They’re not going to compromise. They’re going to walk their talk. It’s a good idea to patronize these organizations because they really believe in making the world a better place.