Tea With the Gray Ajah

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Author: Maibella Rhoiden


Last month we gave you a peek into the Red Ajah's Sitting Room at teatime. This month we invite you into the Sitting Room of the Gray Ajah to discover what teatime is like for us.


The Gray Ajah is a fitting membership group to profile in this month's world travel themed Tar Valon Times because our Ajah includes people from a very wide variety of places around the world. We are so spread out that we have a very difficult time organizing Google Hangouts - what is morning for some of us is evening for others, or even the middle of the night. Our Ajah currently has 35 members listed as Active (though the number who are actually active is a little under 20). Our Sisters and Aspirants hail from Sweden, Belgium, Canada, Scotland, the United States (east coast, west coast, in between, and Hawaii), Australia, England, Israel, Bulgaria, Norway, Serbia, Finland, Germany, France, South Africa, and the Netherlands.

Because we are so spread out, most of us have never met each other. So when I asked my Sisters (and our Warders and Guests) which Gray they would most like to have tea with, the consensus was "any Gray I haven't met yet!" Other popular picks were Gray Aspirant Tyla al'Mere of South Africa because she has been such a vital part of Gray for so long, and Belgareth Gaidin because, as a Brit, "he knows how to drink tea."

Getting a consensus on the type of tea to serve at our tea party was much more difficult. We Grays have widely varied tastes. Black tea, green tea, white tea, herbal tea, fruity tea, rooibos tea, and honeybush tea were all mentioned. Earl Gray and Chai Lattes were favorites of several Grays including me. Other teas favored by Grays include English breakfast, jasmine, an echinacea mix, licorice root & spice blend, and a mix of cherry and pineapple tea that tastes like fruit punch. Blueberry Green Tea is by far Arie Sedai's favorite and she says it "is unique and rare to find.[...] I will hoard that tea until the day I die." Perhaps we should open our own tea shop ...

What to add to tea turned out to be the topic people felt most strongly about. Personally I add a small amount of creamer to black tea and a bit of honey to green tea (I only drink the latter when I'm sick). Honey or lemon were popular choices to add to green tea. A few Grays use various combinations of milk (or cream) and sugar or sugar substitute in their black tea. On the other hand Alyssa Sedai of Belgium drinks her tea without any additives and says "I don't understand the British and their adding milk to tea. *shudders*" Arie Sedai had particularly strong opinion about the use of plain white sugar in tea:

Do yourself a favor and try a Tea without sugar in it. And then instead of pulling out the sugar canister, impress yourself with a little Simple Syrup, adding a little in at a time to get to what you like. If you can't taste much flavor chances are you may not have steeped the tea long enough. There is an art to making a good cup of tea- so don't over steep it or you'll have more tannin's from the tea leaf then the flavor you were hoping for. (Most GOOD tea shops will have an 'ideal timing' for any tea.) Cool thing about the Simple Syrup, you can flavor it anyway you want. Imagine a lemon simple syrup in an Earl Gray tea. All the options! [/end nerd]

Tyla uses a bit of brown sugar in her tea, which is something I have never heard of anyone doing before. And Ilyana Sedai uses Belgian Rock Sugar: "It has the perfect amount of sweet and flavour and it compliments my English Breakfast tea perfectly!"

A bit of time travel, a lot of world travel, and a pinch of magic would be required to bring together the Gray Ajah and our ideal guests for the perfect tea party. But all the effort would most certainly be worth it! Our ideal tea party guest list includes all the Grays (Sisters and Aspirants) and our Warders and:

  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Christopher Lee
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Gina Torres
  • Ian McKellen
  • Leonard Limoy
  • Loki
  • Morena Bacarrin
  • Mr. Darcy
  • Nathan Fillion
  • Neil Degrasse Tyson
  • Nikola Tesla
  • Patrick Stewart
  • Vin Diesel
  • Zora Neale Hurtson
  • and George Takei

("Just so that every time some one says something dirty (intentional or not) we get an 'Oh My!'" says Tyla. That is most certainly necessary with any group of Grays!)

We also discussed who from the Wheel of Time we would want to bring to tea. Taelinn Sedai chose Sorilea: "I'm sure tea with her would be very interesting and instructive, especially if her apprentices were serving!" Ilyana Sedai chose Nynaeve and Imzadi Sedai agreed, adding "she knows the herbals." Alyssa Sedai said "having tea with Siuan and Bryne would be quite interesting." Arie Sedai chose Verin for a reason that contains a major plot spoiler so don't open the spoiler tab below unless you have read THE GATHERING STORM. You've been warned!

Editor's note: Highlight below to see the spoiler.

Arie Sedai chose Verin because "that way I can switch out the cup so she doesn't die."

Marivea Sedai said "Moiraine would definitely be awesome. Any of the Wise Ones would be interesting. Cadsuane would be scary but also totally awesome...again, there's too many good choices." My own choice would be Pevara and Androl, as Pevara is my favorite minor character and I love the interaction between her and Androl.

Now if only someone could bring Traveling to the real world so we could get our Gray Tea Party going ...

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