Tea, also known as a tisane or infusion, was a common beverage drunk across Faerûn and Kara-Tur.[1][2][3] In Wa-an, it was called cha.[5]

Brewing[edit | edit source]

In Faerûn, teas were commonly brewed by pouring boiling water into a container filled with tea leaves, which were then strained out. In the Shining South, leaves were whisked in a bowl and powdered to make a murky brew, while port cities picked up assorted methods from travelers from other lands.[3] Brewing tea could also involve tea bags (counted among magical laboratory equipment and valued at 1 cp a bag)[6] and tea pots (3 sp).[7]

In Faerûn, tea leaves were typically stored in metal coffers, which had greater value than the cheap tea within. Their lids were sealed air-tight with an edible gum or oil, known as "sticky-rim". Among the poor, tea leaves were often reused. People dried them on a shield in the sun before putting them back in the pot, with a few fresh leaves, to brew them again.[3]

In Kara-Tur, necessary implements for tea making included a dedicated table, a brazier, a kettle, and a tea caddy. These could be family heirlooms and works of art.[8] A simple tea set might be made of bamboo.[9]

Tea in Kara-Tur[edit | edit source]

Tea was the most common beverage across Kara-Tur, typically enjoyed at the midday meal and in the afternoon,[2] or at breakfast.[10] Tea drinking was elevated to a refined art by the Shou.[1] It was very fashionable among the Kozakuran noble and samurai classes.[11] In Wa, tea and sake were served as refreshments to guests.[12]

Dedicated tea houses could be found in Shou Lung,[13] Kozakura,[14] and Wa.[15] Wa also had tea gardens[16] and tea rooms in noble houses.[17]

There were a great many variations. Most folk had it plain, but the nomads added milk and sugar, and even made it into a soup.[2] In Wa, a green tea broth was used for serving soba noodles.[18]

Tea in Faerûn[edit | edit source]

In Faerûn, homegrown teas were largely tisanes or infusions of herbs and the leaves of various different plants, rather than proper "tea" plants. These were made from local wild plants, picked by country folk and their children as needed. Hence, they varied widely and travelers expected tea to taste different from place to place. Actual teas were only easy to get in rich cities, such as Athkatla and Calimport, where clubs of tea-fanciers paid highly for them.[3]

Water? I'm thirsty, not dirty!
— Old dwarf joke about being served tea.[19]

Tea was a common beverage, usually served to quench thirst in restaurants[3][note 1] or as a non-alcoholic beverage at social functions,[20] or enjoyed as an afternoon snack.[21] It was always served plain; milk was never used[3] but sugar might be added.[21] An afternoon tea could be enjoyed with fruitcakes or crackers.[22]

Medicinal herbs could be taken by brewing them as a tea, such as for dathlil.[23] A balm made from tea leaves was a common salve for open wounds; it had no real effect.[24]

Trade[edit | edit source]

In Shou Lung, Shangtou and Keelung were renowned for their fine teas, while much tea was produced in Hungtse province.[25] In Wa, almost every farm included a good number of tea bushes, which were sometimes planted in lines to mark properties and boundaries.[26]

Tea was still a recent introduction to Kozakura by the 1350s DR, but it fast became a key commodity, owing to its popularity among the upper classes. It was cultivated on warm mountain slopes in Miyama Province, but while the volume of production was still small, the land used for tea-growing was increasing.[11]

Shou teas were introduced to Faerûn in the early 1360s DR through Aurora's Emporium, with at least two varieties (Pale Jade and Earth Dragon's Eye) made available for purchase through Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. Teas from Shou Lung were known for being both invigorating and soothing.[1]

Tea? Tea? Pass, merchant, and may you know better fortune within than to have to trade in tea!
— A gate guard to a tea trader.[3]

Owing to their strictly local nature, Faerûnian teas were rarely traded far or priced highly. They were traded so little that no authority levied duties on tea commerce, not even by the caravan (only any regular fees for ships docking or wagons entering city gates applied). In fact, dedicated tea traders were even viewed with suspicion, as if they were mad or engaged in something underhanded instead. Because of this, trading coffee was more profitable and popular than tea.[3]

Cost[edit | edit source]

In Kara-Tur, 1 pound (450 grams) of tea cost 1 tael.[4] Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue sold the same amount of Pale Jade for 20 gold pieces and Earth Dragon's Eye for 50 gold pieces.[1]

Magic & Ritual[edit | edit source]

Tea was a possible material component for a shukenja's protection from evil, 10' radius, replacing holy water in tracing a circle on the ground.[27]

The tea ceremony was a vital ritual practiced by nobility and merchants in some lands of Kara-Tur, with the aim of instilling complete calm[28][15] or demonstrating full and proper courtesy.[29]

Some people read tea leaves as a means of divination. This was used by some members of the silver ladies of Selûne.[30]

Tea Varieties[edit | edit source]

A traditional vessel for serving Turmishan herbal honey-colored tea.

Some varieties of tea were:

See Category:Teas

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. According to Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms, page 94, "Tea in most dining houses (restaurants) replaces the real-world 'dusty glass of water on the table.'"

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Jeff Grubb, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend et al (1992). Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. (TSR, Inc), p. 134. ISBN 0-5607-6327-2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 139. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Ed Greenwood (October 2012). Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 0786960345.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 40. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
  5. Nigel Findley (1990). Ninja Wars. (TSR, Inc), p. 15. ISBN 0-8803-8895-1.
  6. Jeff Grubb, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend et al (1992). Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. (TSR, Inc), p. 40. ISBN 0-5607-6327-2.
  7. Jeff Grubb, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend et al (1992). Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. (TSR, Inc), p. 66. ISBN 0-5607-6327-2.
  8. Jon Pickens, et al. (December 1986). Night of the Seven Swords. Edited by Karen S. Martin. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 43, 45. ISBN 0-88038-327-5.
  9. Jeff Grubb (1987). Ochimo: The Spirit Warrior. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 0-88038-393-3.
  10. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  11. 11.0 11.1 David Cook (1986). Swords of the Daimyo (Province Book of Miyama). (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 0-88038-273-2.
  12. Nigel Findley (1990). Ninja Wars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 7, 13, 15, 20, 29. ISBN 0-8803-8895-1.
  13. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  14. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 148. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 162. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  16. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 164. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  17. Nigel Findley (1990). Ninja Wars. (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 0-8803-8895-1.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Jeff Grubb, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend et al (1992). Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. (TSR, Inc), p. 120. ISBN 0-5607-6327-2.
  19. Ed Greenwood (October 2012). Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 96. ISBN 0786960345.
  20. Ed Greenwood (November 1998). The City of Ravens Bluff. (TSR, Inc), p. 20. ISBN 0-7869-1195-6.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Ed Greenwood (November 1998). The City of Ravens Bluff. (TSR, Inc), pp. 17, 113. ISBN 0-7869-1195-6.
  22. Jeff Grubb, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend et al (1992). Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. (TSR, Inc), pp. 119–120. ISBN 0-5607-6327-2.
  23. Ed Greenwood (October 2012). Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 0786960345.
  24. Jeff Grubb, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend et al (1992). Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. (TSR, Inc), p. 142. ISBN 0-5607-6327-2.
  25. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), pp. 11, 12, 13. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  26. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 177. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  27. Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 66. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
  28. Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 55. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
  29. Teos Abadia (October 2011). “The Five Deadly Shadows”. In Chris Winters ed. Dungeon #195 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 4–7. Archived from the original on 2013-05-09.
  30. John Terra (February 1996). Warriors and Priests of the Realms. Edited by Steven E. Schend. (TSR, Inc), p. 102. ISBN 0-7869-0368-6.
  31. n-Space (October 2015). Designed by Dan Tudge, et al. Sword Coast Legends. Digital Extremes.
  32. Jon Pickens, et al. (December 1986). Night of the Seven Swords. Edited by Karen S. Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 43. ISBN 0-88038-327-5.
  33. Bruce R. Cordell (2008). Plague of Spells. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10. ISBN 978-0786949656.
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