August Tea Time

I don’t mind that Elizabeth Gilbert is a better writer than I am. I don’t mind that’s she’s blonder, cuter, smarter, and has Julia Roberts playing her in the movie that has been made from her mega-bestseller memoir. Really, I don’t.

But when  The Republic of Tea came out with an Eat, Pray, Love tea, that’s when I said to myself, Now wait just a damn minute.

If you’ve read my book, then  you might have noticed that

1. There’s a lot of cats in it.

2. There’s also a lot of tea in it.

3. There’s even cats and tea in it.

4. See: August chapter, page 126:

I love tea. I love its place in my life, the thoughtful, calm, creative, alone, place where I sit with myself and a good book, a fat cat, a comfy chair, and my favorite cup. I love its place in all other tea drinkers’ lives, which is also its place in literature, culture, and friendship. And I want my own brand of tea, damn it.

And I really really really want to design the box that it will come in. Six sides, all illustrated with a scene of tea heaven — that  clean, well-lit place that soothes the soul. I have it all planned out in my head, and it’s gorgeous: it will be the best box of tea the Earth has ever seen.

But, if any writer had to beat me at my own tea dreams, I’m glad it’s Elizabeth Gilbert, so I got on line and ordered two tins of Eat, Pray, Love tea (available only on line for a limited time, at

I got my tins yesterday and I had a cup: it’s a Blood Orange Cinnamon Black Tea, very aromatic and spicy, full of familiar and foreign flavors that are elusive yet comforting. It’s a perfect tea for an afternoon voyage to a new mental landscape. And I want to offer my lovely readers the chance to win a tin!

But there’s a catch: I need your help. I don’t have a name for my tea. And I know that a lot of you are pretty spiffy tea drinkers yourselves and much more clever than I am, so here’s the deal: send me your dream tea name, in the Comments section below, and the winning name’s author will receive a tin of Eat,Pray,Love tea (50 tea bags) from me, with a specially-hand made card of thanks (and your name on my tea box). Because mark my words, if the universe works the way Oprah says it does, then I will get my own tea one day.

(My souvenir Buckingham Palace 1994 tea mug not included in contest prize)

Keep in mind that my tea will be:

Black. That means Indian and/or African tea. I do not care for green tea, not that I judge people who like green tea or that I’m judging green tea (which I really am) but I prefer the color, body, taste, and ooomph of black tea.

I want some Madagascar vanilla flavor in my tea. Vanilla is my favorite flavor in the world, and Madagascar is my favorite country name in the world. And I’m very fond of the Madagascar Sun Set Moth.

I am against putting milk in tea.

I like the way tea tastes in a paper cup.

NO PUNS. God, I hate puns.

Deadline for your tea suggestions will be next Friday, August 13, when coincidently, the movie Eat, Pray, Love opens.

Drink. Think. Write to me.

29 Comments, RSS

  1. Mary August 6, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

    I hear the spinning minds now, of all your faithful readers…..
    We’ll come up with something, Vivian.

  2. Barbara Finwall August 6, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

    Did you do that embroidery? It’s fantastic. I love it! That would be a great package design. Sorry but, of all the things we have in common, I’m not too into tea. And I hate to admit it but I hated “Eat, Pray, Love”. I think you’re a much better writer than Elizabeth Gilbert.

  3. Mindy Clark August 6, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

    I found Eat, Pray, Love to be a bit too sacchrine for my taste.

    On the tea front, I will put my thinking cap on and see what I can come up with.

  4. maryann August 6, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

    This is fantastic, as are you. I am sure that you *will* have your own tea one day, and I will buy it. Here are just a few of my ideas for your tea’s name:
    Tea Heaven
    Sweet Life Tea
    Tea Lovers OR Lovers Tea
    Beyond the Expected Tea
    Pathways Tea
    Solitary Solace
    Morning Peace Tea
    The World in a Tea Leaf Tea


  5. Shelley August 7, 2010 @ 11:42 am

    Enjoying a bit of alliteration this morning…And trying to work in something that relates to your marvelous book!

    Tranquil Traveler
    Restful Roamer
    Cozy Comfort
    Wanderer’s Repose

  6. Ann August 7, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

    Wanderers’ Reward? When Wanderers Pause for Tea?
    Staying Put Tea? The Micronation of Tea? (A bit too close to an established brand name, I fear.)

    In any event, this blog is one of my favorite micronations.

    Thank you, Ann

  7. Shelley August 7, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

    I posted some ideas this morning, but my comment hasn’t shown up yet…impatiently awaiting moderation!!

    I like Ann’s idea of When Wanderer’s Pause For Tea.

  8. Shelley August 7, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

    I’m going to try re-posting my tea names, as my other comment appeared right away…Here we go:

    I was enjoying a bit of alliteration this morning…And trying to work in something that relates to your marvelous book!

    Tranquil Traveler or maybe Traveler’s Tranquility
    Restful Roamer
    Cozy Comfort
    Wanderer’s Repose

  9. G2 August 7, 2010 @ 8:41 pm

    I think the word “wanderer” needs to be in the name of your tea, but I added a few other names just for fun. Thank you for introducing me to the Madagascar Sun Set Moth – almost as spectacular as the Abyssinian Roller.

    Wanderer’s Tea Time
    Wanderer’s Vanilla Tea
    Madagascar Sun Set
    Tea with Woody
    Louie’s Tea Time
    Pawsylvania Special Tea

  10. G2 August 7, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

    Another idea would be to do a tea blend for each of the four seasons or for each month of the year (echoing your book). While some teas are a constant in my life there are some that I only drink in certain seasons.

  11. Nadine August 7, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

    Is “Vanilla Purr” too twee?

    May I offer this riff on Ann’s idea: “When Wanderers Pause”[personal tic: I dislike apostrophes]

    Can’t help you here because I think milkless teas are too raw. I like a tea with just a wee drop of milk too round out the taste. However, I agree that all teas taste best in a paper cup.

  12. Shelley August 8, 2010 @ 12:57 am

    I’m fascinated with the thought of tea tasting better in a paper cup? I can’t imagine ANYTHING tasting better in a paper cup, because I can always taste the paper. I like mine in a nice, glass or ceramic mug.

    I love the Madagascar Vanilla flavor idea. My absolute favorite tea these days is Celestial Seasonings Madagascar Vanilla Red (African Rooibos tea). It makes wonderful iced tea.

    Now, I’m going to get into trouble for definitely being too twee, and/or making a dreaded pun…how about Wanderers Paws Tea?

  13. Shelley August 8, 2010 @ 1:00 am

    So sorry about the unnecessary question mark and misplaced comma in my above post. Wish there was an edit feature. My fingers get ahead of my brain when typing.

  14. emily m August 8, 2010 @ 7:53 am

    Yesterday, I reread the “August” chapter as I read the appropriate chapter each month, at least once, and loved p. 126 and p. 131 especially. Then I wondered, which is Vivian’s most favorite page/painting in that Month and then in the whole book. I tried to pick my own book favorite and there are just too many that I love, I cannot decide. I do know my favorite quote and that is Willa Cather, p. 41. Sorry I am not good at tea names and the only silly one I came up with was Cats’ Mewow and Im not even sure where the apostrophe goes. OH well, you already got lots of good ones. (maybe a whole series with cat in the name and illustrated with cats as they do seem to go together or how about something like “Cozy Tea” and “Roamer’s Tea” which reflect a mood rather than a flavor?

  15. emily m August 8, 2010 @ 7:58 am

    woops, excuse the pun and make my entry plain old cat’s meow.

  16. Kate August 8, 2010 @ 11:10 am

    Wander the World Tea.

  17. Kate August 8, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    Or Armchair Traveler’s Tea

  18. Nadine August 8, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

    This is for Shelly: As New Yorkers, when we say a “paper cup” we mean a particular kind of cup that the Greek diners provide for take out. It’s got drawings of the Acropolis and stuff on it. It’s the perfect one-service size and keeps the tea hot pretty much until the end. They’re made in Mt Vernon, NY and I have a huge supply of them. I serve tea and coffee in them the few times I have guests. Maybe that’s why I have few guests.

    I find that china cools the tea too quickly and most ceramic cups have rims that are too lumpy to enjoy. I’ve tried glass like the Russians do but glass conducts the heat too much, making the glass too hot to handle. And Styrofoam is toxic. Paper it is for moi.

    And reading Shelly’s idea made me realize that “When Wanderers Pause” has a homonym but does that make it also a pun — a two-fer?

  19. Carol Danforth August 8, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

    How about “Done Roaming” tea?
    “Wandered Home” tea?

    What a fun idea for a contest! I hope you get your own tea!!

  20. Janet August 8, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

    Your tea will certainly be a little exotic with hints of the unexpected and enough caffeine to kickstart the day or banish afternoon sluggishness. I will drink it when I want to be teleported out of my ordinary life and have an armchair adventure in a place where the sands are white, the skies are Kodacolor blue and the air is filled with foreign sounds and smells. I call it Zanzibar Dawn or Zanzibar Sunrise. Oh, and it makes me feel 20 years younger and 20 pounds lighter which suggests another name: Zanzibar Fantasy.

  21. Janet August 8, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

    I forgot to mention that I think Ann has come up with some wonderful suggestions. I’d want to taste any of her tea names.

  22. Deborah August 9, 2010 @ 12:23 am

    Swift Lift Tea

    Top Cat Tea

    That Damn Tea

    (That no-pun rule is cruel and unusual punishment)

  23. Deb August 9, 2010 @ 3:50 am

    Vivian’s Swift Tea. It’s a little counterintuitive to the whole relaxation thing but I’d pick it up and check it out just because of that. But I am a little strange, in case you haven’t figured it out yet.

  24. Deborah August 9, 2010 @ 9:19 am

    Picture Perfect Tea
    Peaceful Places Tea
    Beau Monde Tea
    Bonne Temp Tea or Bonnes Temps (?) Tea

  25. Shelley August 9, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

    Nadine, thank you for the explanation about the paper cups! I’ll have to check out the Greek diners here in Portland OR to see if they have them also.

    I agree that china, while pretty, cools off way too quickly (and I’m just not coordinated enough to be trusted with anything that dainty)!

    With Chinese food, the tea MUST be served in those little ceramic cups without handles.

    And, Janet, I would drink your Zanzibar Sunrise Fantasy tea anytime, out of anything!

  26. sarahsbooks August 9, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

    Okay, here goes nothing:

    Stay Home and Drink

    Madagascar Dawn

    Homebodies, Rejoice

    Oolong Island Iced Tea (I know you said no puns, but…)

    Deborah’s “That Damn Tea” made me laugh – perfect!

  27. anne August 10, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

    I am reading your book (When Wanderers Cease to Roam) which I bought for my daughter ( not currently wandering) and now I want to buy on for myself, and for my sister and a friend in Rio and and and..!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s wonderful!!!!
    As to the teas and the cats and stuff, that was about one of my favorite-est parts, the August entries….

  28. Louise W August 12, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

    It’s getting to be tea time for me. Its just too dang hot to be drinking anything hot. A cool morning, a comfey chair & fleece throw, a cat or two on my lap and a cup of tea – it’s making me dream!

    My thoughts for tea names:

    Heaven’s Comfort Tea
    Madagascar Comfort Tea

    Whatever you name it, enjoy!

  29. emily m August 18, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

    whatever the name, I think the label should most definately be a replica of the wonderful tea with cats inthe garden embroidery. It says it all and is so adorable. Emily

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