In Penn Tea Club, students can learn about the social, cultural, and historical importance of tea drinking.
Nursing senior Rosemarie Hernandez founded the club during the fall of 2020. Since then, it has hosted events including virtual tea trivia, game nights, study sessions, and an in-person tea tasting event. The club also runs Boba Buddies, a weekly program where members are randomly paired with one another so that they can bond over a cup of tea.
Hernandez said that she decided to start the Penn Tea Club after starting her own tea blog on Instagram, @teatimewithrosemarie, where she reviewed her favorite tea houses and experiences.
“I’m from New York where there are a lot of different tea houses. I started hopping around from tea house to tea house. Among my friend group, I’m the only one who loves tea, but seeing other people who get really excited over tea and just enjoy drinking tea has been a really fun experience,” Hernandez said.
While many events have been on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions, co-presidents and College juniors Vivian Dinh and Victoria Gribman said that they hope to host tea pickup events and trips to tea houses in Chinatown, especially now that they have received Student Activities Council funding this semester.
Dinh said that the club provides a space for people to unwind and explore their interests, especially to escape the pressure of pre-professional clubs.
“I feel like so many other clubs are about networking or just doing things career-wise,” Dinh said. “I really want the club to be a space where people can relax and actually talk to the people about their niche interests, no matter how weird they might be.”
Gribman said that she hopes the club will also explore different tea traditions from around the world, adding that the multicultural origins of tea differentiate it from other drinks.
“We really want to visit different cultural tea rooms. I’m Russian, and tea is a big part of Russian culture," Gribman said. "After dinner, we always drink tea. And it's a time to unwind and chat with your family and friends. That was always a subconscious thing for me growing up, but now it's like something that I always do to relax."
With over 60 currently registered members, Penn Tea hopes to continue welcoming new members during the spring semester.
“I really like how universally a hot cup of tea can bring people together. If you feel like you've had a really bad day, just go out and find a nice tea flavor that you think you'd be interested in. I'm sure your day will probably feel better just because it's like this little thing that you did for yourself,” Dinh said.