The Historicity of Modernity, Paper and Tea
As with most things in life, the trajectory of modernity and what is defined as the “modern experience” is in constant flux. Since its conception, modernity has, in one way or another, included the practice of abandoning traditions and certain rituals – and at the very least, maintaining a strong sense of awareness to the current existential zeitgeist.
Each and every industry has explored and considered both the advantages and disadvantages of modernity on its path to self-discovery. To claim that one area, or industry (arts, culture, culinary arts, etc. ;), has been altered more than any other leaves one with two things; an impossible decision, and a short-sighted understanding of the complexities of time. Interestingly enough, one massive result of modernity was the standardization of time – time, being an entity that moves one way, forwards and upwards with infinite power and progressive linearity.
Yet, taking a seat at many local kitchens and concept cafes will have you feeling a bit peculiar. Despite the concept of time as a singular, linear phenomenon, the culinary arts have seemingly created another temporal dimension. One that wishes for a return to the crafts, a return to tradition and a return to agricultural purity. Menus are more specific and informed – the origins of every cut of beef and every leaf of arugula are made apparent. There is also total transparency of crafted cocktails, with more and more restaurants and cafes sticking to spirits and schnapps from local Berlin distilleries and breweries. Is the quality better? Perhaps. Does it offer more support to local business owners and the community? Naturally. Some might claim that this new trend simply allows for a spike – in both prices and the accumulation of pretentious nonsense.
Modernity and its effect on the culinary arts is often so beautiful it’s maddening. From the art of plating, to the obsession with proper sourcing – eating has become refined, informative and transcendental. Sitting at the intersection of all the above, Paper and Tea isn’t a place of consumption, it’s a place of gathering. Choosing to explore tea as an agent of communication, creativity and culture, Paper and Tea seeks to promote fine tea as an element for a creative and fulfilling modern life. Sustainable sourcing, seminars, tastings and helpful staff create an environment of nostalgia, an ode to the historical appreciation and practices of tea drinking.
Slowly but surely, many teas have recently popped up in social media feeds, chain coffee cafes and pinterest boards but the depth and cultural importance of tea as a cultural and social endeavor has been pushed to the wayside for the sake of pseudo-aesthetics. Paper and Tea is cognizant of the historicity of tea and promotes its beauty not through simplistic structures of norms, but through the craft of farming, making and serving. Their seminars range from learning the basics, to brewing fine greens like matcha, or scheduling a private tasting to gain a better grasp on what the taste buds prefer. Starter-kits are another great way to gain knowledge of teas and leaves without leaving the comfort of your kitchen – and lest one not forget the social aspect of tea drinking, they’re meant to share. Sourcing all of their ceramics, utensils and kits from specialized manufacturers, Paper and Tea is profoundly dedicated to a unique, modern approach to the time-honored tradition of tea culture.