People often ask me how I count my cups of tea. I do have to admit that it is an estimation, not an exact science. Basically, I estimate that there are 20 cups of tea in a gallon of water, which equates to 6.4 ounces per cuppa tea (128 ounces in a gallon). I think this number is a pretty good estimate because a large mug holds about 8 ounces and a small cup holds around 5 ounces, and since I serve about as many of each, 6.4 ounces sounds about right. Every tea party I look at my 5 gallon water jug and estimate how many gallons we went through. From this I derive a number of cups served and update the number on my homepage as often as I can.
With this math at work I knew that the first winter Tuesday Tea Party in Arcata was going to be the occasion for celebrating the 5,000th cuppa free tea. People were eager and trying to count down when I threw out “22 cups left.” One of the most excited people was a guy named Gaia. When he asked for a refill I took his cup from him and filled up another cup I had bought from a local ceramist. I handed it to him and he asked why I had given him the cup. I told him that it was his, to keep. Why? “Because you’re the 5,000th cuppa tea!” He was SO excited. Everyone was cheering and laughing.
Along with the cup, I bestowed upon him a traditional Japanese-style mini cast iron tea pot, as well as a certificate that said: The Bearer of this Certificate is entitled to One (1) Free Tea Party, whether private or public, whether in the tea bus or elsewhere. I signed it Guisepi and Edna… He also had me sign the bottom of his cup.
Reflecting on the number 5,000 I think about how many people we have met, how many taste buds have tingled, how many tea parties that might be, and how many more there may be. What is it in a number that is satisfying? We always try to set high scores, get good grades, make a lot of money. But beyond the numbers, I think I would feel satisfied if it were only five cups of free tea. Here’s to 4 years of free tea parties and 5000 cups of free tea!