Teas Your Favorite Characters Probably Drink is an ongoing series from Geek Girl Authority. The author uses canon character traits, actions, and personality as well as foods eaten to decide which tea is most likely consumed by the character.
Ah, the series that inspired this series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Uncle Iroh’s lessons have gotten me through many struggles in my life, the very least of which – tea is calming to drink. As Uncle Iroh says, tea is the culmination of all the elements: Earth (which grows the leaves), water (which the leaves are steeped in), fire (to make the water hot), and air (in the steam that comes off of a good cup of tea).
Please note: these articles are not canon, but a fandom inference. We analyze the characters for who they are, what they tended to consume in the series, and what their needs are as a character.
As noted in the series, Uncle Iroh drinks jasmine tea. But, which kind of jasmine tea? Oh yes, dear reader, there are many sorts of jasmine tea! The most decadent – and I believe Uncle Iroh’s choice while living in the palace – is Jasmine Pearl tea. Not only is it a lovely tea when brewed (the pearls one “blooms” in your cup with a strong scent of jasmine), it is calming on the tongue and easy to pack to carry with you.
Jasmine pearl tea is not like your street-side boba tea. Oh, no. The jasmine tea that Uncle Iroh consumes comes in small hand-furled balls (or “pearls”) that gently expand while your tea is steeping. It’s one of the most popular kinds of “blooming” tea.
(Hey, psst! If you want to try the jasmine pearls, Golden Moon has a pretty good deal on them!)
Later in Avatar: The Last Airbender (in books two and beyond), Uncle Iroh likely switched out his expensive green jasmine pearls for the less expensive and easier to find white jasmine tea. It’s also milder in caffeine content. Therefore, it’s more “calming” than the highly caffeinated green tea variety.
Though Prince Zuko is often annoyed at his uncle and his “hot leaf juice” obsession, I can’t help but think of which tea Zuko would enjoy most. Because of his disdain for weak beverages, Zuko drinks strong and flavorful tea that packs a punch (supported by his love of ginger tea in the series). Jasmine tea is an obvious choice, but I think that later in his life, he might have indulged in a spicier cup. Masala chai would do nicely for Prince Zuko, as it’s spicy and still decadent, but lovely when adding sweetness to your brew.
Zuko has a lot of bite, even after growing through Avatar: The Last Airbender. He’s never afraid to speak his mind or let his opinion be known. Masala chai is the same way – it lets its presence be known from the outset. Zuko is also very trusting and loyal. Thus, he’s easily manipulated by his sister, Princess Azula. Chai tea is one of the most widely “manipulated” tea drinks – many drinker’s first tastes of chai tea is as a latte or as an iced drink!
Princess Azula is a fiery one (Ha, see what I did there? Oh, I’m a mess? Yes, 100%. On with the post!) and her tea absolutely reflects that. Princess Azula is, perhaps, the most formidable adversary the main five (Along with Prince Zuko) face in Avatar: The Last Airbender. She has a sharp mind and an even sharper tongue. As such, Azula drinks a smoky, dark oolong tea. Not only does it reflect her heritage as a fire bender, but it’s strong, makes a lasting impression, and is a little bitter. Just like her!
Oolong tea is a “rarer” tea, representing only about two percent of the world’s tea consumption. As one of the only Lightningbenders in Avatar: The Last Airbender, I think this fits Azula well. Oolong is a perfect middle ground between green and black tea, and offers a relaxing compound called theanine. We all know how much Azula needs to calm down (though fans love her with a burning passion – pun fully intended).
First and foremost, Toph is a tough cookie. Toph drinks a pu-erh tea which offers a very deep, earthy flavor. One of the most powerful Earthbenders ever, Toph relishes her connection to the earth and uses it as an “extension of her senses,” like the sloth-bears who trained her. Toph unconsciously drinks a tea showing all that despite being blind, she’s not delicate or to be pitied in any way.
Pu-erh is singularly grown in China, the country the Earth Kingdom (and, in some aspects, the Fire Nation) is based on in Avatar: The Last Airbender. As the only Earthbender in the main group, Toph is often misunderstood by her friends. Her steadfastness and loyalty are unmatched though, even if she is often annoyed by everyone around her!
After his unfortunate experience drinking cactus water, Sokka, the water tribe warrior from the south, prefers a friendly but bold tea. A boy with endless energy grows into a man in the series and his tea reflects that. Sokka drinks a black tea brew accented with blueberry, to show off his sweetness along with his energy and highly-motivated pursuit toward his goals.
Black tea is the most popular tea in the world. Though Sokka may not be the most popular guy at first impression (most black teas can be bitter if over-steeped, or be too light if under-steeped), he endears himself to others and is a stable member of his friend group.
A fearlessly independent and loyal woman, Katara is the backbone of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Acting as a mother-figure on the road at times for her companions, Katara doesn’t drink tea. She drinks cocoa. Sometimes with sprinkles. If she must drink tea, she passes it off to Aang discreetly. Probably. We’re not experts here (Or maybe we are! We’ll never tell!).
Although Aang is twelve years old in Avatar: The Last Airbender, he’s also a traditionalist. His monk background (as an air nomad) means he likes to stick to lighter oolong teas. Oolong tea comes in a variety of ages, based on how long the tea picker lets the tea oxidize outside in the air before bagging it. Azula would probably drink the darkest oolong tea oxidation (“Black” oolong tea, which has a deep, smoky flavor), whereas Aang would barely let it oxidize at all. He’s likely to pick and immediately stick the leaves in hot water to drink! Lighter oolong tea is milder and more thoughtful, just like Aang!
Hailing from Taiwan, Formosa Ali Shahn oolong tea is the lightest oolong tea available. When brewed, it has a sort of milky flavor. The tea leaves look like cute little buds and like Iroh’s Jasmine Pearls, they flower or “bloom” as they steep in your cup!
Or he drinks Earl Grey. Because all bald men drink Earl Grey.
This article was originally posted on 5/10/20
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