Harding University
June 20, 2011

Students travel the world following the history of tea

During a three-week journey, six students from the Honors
College at Harding University began their summer with a cup of
tea. Senior history major Alan Elrod of Searcy was a member of the

The trip was part of a program that started last summer, The History
of the World in One Cup. Whereas last year’s adventurers trekked
across the Western Hemisphere tracing the roots of coffee, the summer
2011 group left May 16 to explore regions in India, Morocco, London
and Boston where the sale and consumption of tea impacted the world

In Boston, they studied the beginning of the American Revolution at
Boston Harbor. Students participated in a historical tour of the old
city where their guide gave a brief lecture on historical points of
interest at each site. They also toured the offices and warehouses as
special guests of the Mark T. Wendell Tea Company, one of the largest
importers of tea in the U.S.

Students and faculty headed overseas where they toured the largest tea
brokerage firm in the world, located in Guwahati, India. They received
a lesson in distinguishing various types of tea from the firm’s
primary tea taster who samples more than 1,200 cups every day. While
in India, the group also visited the largest tea auction in the world,
the Mancotta Tea estate in Dibrugarh, and the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Their Moroccan tour led them through Casablanca, Rabat, Fes and
Marrakech where they studied North African uses of tea. The group also
made a stop in London, England, where they enjoyed high tea at Fortnum
and Mason, were given a tea demonstration, and visited the Twinings
tea museum.

The group was led by Dr. Jeff Hopper, distinguished professor and dean
of International Programs. Because of illness Dr. Pat Garner,
professor of communication, was unable to accompany the group on the
actual tour. Dr. Kathy Dillion, associate professor in the Department
of English, worked with Hopper and Garner in teaching and conducting
the class while accompanying the group. International Programs
Administrator Janis Ragsdale traveled with the team as well.

Students received up to nine hours of credit from classes in
international studies, communication, anthropology and even
kinesiology. The group returned in early June.