The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing The World’s Favourite Beverage From Its Violent History by Becca Stevens
hardcover, 240 pages
What started as an impossible dream-to build a café that employs women recovering from prostitution and addiction-is helping to fuel an astonishing movement to bring freedom and fair wages to women producers worldwide where tea and trafficking are linked by oppression and the opiate wars.
Becca Stevens started the Thistle Stop Café to empower women survivors. But when she discovered a connection between café workers and tea laborers overseas, she embarked on a global mission called “Shared Trade” to increase the value of women survivors and producers across the globe.
As she recounts the victories and unexpected challenges of building the café, Becca also sweeps the reader into the world of tea, where timeless rituals transport to an era of beauty and the challenging truths about tea’s darker, more violent history. She offers moving reflections of the meaning of tea in our lives, plus recipes for tea blends that readers can make themselves.
In this journey of triumph for impoverished tea laborers, hope for café workers, and insight into the history of tea, Becca sets out to defy the odds and prove that love is the most powerful force for transformation on earth.
This book is an unexpected, and emotional journey exploring the movement towards freedom and fair wages to women. I initially assumed this book would discuss solely the history of tea as a beverage and the boom of the tea market with the increasing popularity of loose tea shops appearing across the world…I should have paid closer attention the subtitle, I would have been better prepared to truly appreciate the raw beauty of this collection.
The Way of Tea and Justice recounts the amazing journey of Becca Stevens and her group at Thistle Farms as they established a tea cafe to help women off the streets heal and rebuild their lives. Survivors of abuse, addiction, and prostitution have sought solace at Thistle Farms. Thistle Farms remains a safe place for recovering women to work and earn fair wages under good working conditions.
Becca Stevens is a pastor and much of the book reflects the ups and downs of her personal journey and how her passion for justice and love for her faith kept her focused even through some very difficult times in her life. Stevens personal story is very cathartic for the reader, and makes us appreciate the beauty in the mundane aspects of life we often overlook. Stevens’ concept of tea as a way to heal sent her on a journey to learn more about the history and culture of tea.
She starts each section of her book with a recipe for a different type or flavor of tea to try at home. Reverend Stevens shares with us how tea has played a vital role in cultures around the world for thousands of years. It is quite disturbing to learn how often women, were taken advantage of, forced to live in fear and poverty while trying to provide for their families. Stevens asserts that we should make more time to just sit with a cup of tea and ponder our lot, or simply just take a few minutes away from the stresses that command our attention throughout the day.
A great read for young women looking to feel empowered. One person can make a difference in the world, Stevens proves that. Women across the world join her in growing and selling natural products, and work in the new Thistle Stop Cafe, opened in 2013.
A refreshing take on traditional non-fiction. This book conveys a strong message of peace, power and inspiration to be found within something as seemingly simple as a beverage.