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The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World's Favorite Beverage from Its Violent History
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The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World's Favorite Beverage from Its Violent History

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  44 reviews
What started as an impossible dream-to build a café that employs women recovering from prostitution and addiction-is helping to fuel an astonishing movement to bring freedom and fair wages to women producers worldwide where tea and trafficking are linked by oppression and the opiate wars.

Becca Stevens started the Thistle Stop Café to empower women survivors. But when she
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Jericho Books (first published July 8th 2014)
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Average rating 3.36  · 
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Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If ever a book's subtitle was going to grab you, this one certainly did the trick! “Rescuing the World's Favorite Beverage from its Violent History” . . . what a statement. Tea, justice, and a violent history? Just the title of this book gets you thinking. Yet, like so many things, it is what is seen when you look beyond the outside that holds so much meaning.

Becca Stevens runs Thistle Farms, a safe place for recovering women to work and earn fair wages under good working conditions. Survivors
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Why I chose this book: I love Thistle Farms and I love tea, so I definitely wanted to read what Becca Stevens had to say about both.

Thistle Farms works to help women recover from trafficking, prostitution, drug addiction and homelessness. After completing a residential program, women can work for the social enterprise that Thistle Farms runs which offers employment and skills to women. They opened a cafe, a second business (the first is making bath and body products), in 2013.

The story of that o
Mar 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This was a DNF for me. I was expecting more history woven in with spiritual realizations, but I found it jumped around from stories of the women to history to repetition about tea that I found disappointing. It was lacking a cohesive theme that kept the narrative moving other than "tea is awesome!". I struggled through about 50 pages before deciding it just wasn't for me. The writing itself was decent quality and there was great potential in the story, but I don't feel that it was structured as ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is not an enjoyable read. I've been trying for weeks to inch through it, but when I found a book-trade while travelling, I decided to swap it midway through. No point wasting time reading something you don't like. (Especially whilst abroad, hey?)

I enjoyed the tea recipe at the beginning of each chapter, and I've learnt a bit of tea history I didn't know, but overall, 'Tea and Justice' doesn't know what kind of book it wants to be.

It's all over the place. One second it's tea history, then Th
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely love this book. Each chapter starts with an introduction to a type of tea, its origin and/or how it’s brewed. Laced with testimonies, this book beautifully tells the story of Thistle Farms and Thistle Stop Cafe.
Jul 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I was very bored reading this book. I understand that I'm not the target audience, as a pagan enby teen, but I feel like a book like this should not have a target audience? It was also just very repetitive so :/ idk. Very boring.
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
What's hard about choosing a rating for this book is that it would alternate between 3 and 5 stars... but I don't think that makes it "average out" to a 4.
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Picked this gem up on a discount table . . . thoroughly enjoyed the read!
Jennifer Poole
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was written by a pastor, so a lot of Bible stuff is mentioned. I'm not religious, so some parts were a bit tedious for that reason. It's a good book, though... I enjoyed it.
Deb O.
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book but felt like it was two books rolled into one. On one hand the very important work and history of Thistle Farms and the other the history and social justice around tea.
Sloan Strickland
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books! History, justice, and self-care.
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the stress of the holiday season, this has been a perfect read for me. Almost every sentence feels like something I should quote or stitch onto the proverbial pillow to review again and again. Becca Stevens uses the human rights violations in the history of tea to represent the former violence and victimization in the lives of the women that are being restored at the Magdalene rehabilitation center. Her dream is to create the Thistle Cafe to be both a symbol and physical living proof of the r ...more
Bonnye Reed
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
XXX Becca Stevens is an Episcopal priest and chaplain at St Augustine's at Vanderbilt University. Amoung others, she has been honored by the White House - one of fifteen Champions of Change in 2011, and the Small Business Council of America named her Humanitarian of the year 2014. Thistle Farms, her work for many years combatting violence against women in America, sells products from the farm in 380 stores nationwide. The women who farm on Thistle farms are women rescued from abusive childhoods, ...more
Saba N  Taylor
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
The Way of Tea and Justice recounts the amazing journey of Becca Stevens and her group at thistle farms as they established a tea cafe to help women off the streets heal and rebuild their lives. Becca Stevens is a pastor and much of the book reflects the ups and downs of her journey and how her passion for justice and love for her faith kept her focused even through some very difficult times in her life. Her concept of tea as a way to heal sent her on a journey to learn more about the history an ...more
Shelby Vcelka
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really wanted to give this book five stars. Many of the passages were gorgeous, and put into words how I feel when I drink a cup of tea. For those passages alone, the book warrants five stars. However, the beautiful passages were framed by preachiness. The author is a reverend, and she makes sure to mention her Christian worship in almost every single chapter. One of the major themes running throughout the book was the universality of tea, and I feel that constantly inserting Jesus and Christi ...more
Melissa Dills
I almost put down this book after about 50 pages. The writing is somewhat repetitive and cliched. We are given tons of abstractions and generalities, and disappointingly few concrete, grounding facts and details about history of tea. But then, I was looking for a cohesive look at tea and its ties to colonial exploitation as compared to its role in today's market, particularly the emerging contemporary free trade movement. However, that's not the book Stevens wrote. For her purposes, it's a fine ...more
Justice tastes gooood.

Tea is a lovely metaphor for so many things, and Becca Stevens covers just about all of them. Her lilting, graceful prose gives life to many abstract thoughts, ideas, and feelings. She takes us through the journey to build the Thistle Stop Cafe in Nashville (which I have had the pleasure of patronizing and it is awesome!) and how tea accompanied her and the Magdalene residents and graduates.

I've been a huge fan of Thistle Farms and the Magdalene program for several years. A
Tina Chase
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
My husband picked this up for me at the library because I am a big tea lover. Based on the title and cover etc, I was expecting an interesting read on the history of tea and how it affected people over the centuries. The book was interesting at times, but I really struggled to finish it. While I appreciate her journey to build this cafe and admire her dedication to help the women start new lives, the book was overly religious for my liking and did not really contain very much history on tea. Onc ...more
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
While I agree with another book below that I had hoped for more history woven into the spiritual story and maybe structure wasn't perfect, that almost reinforced the reality and spirituality of the book. Rev. Becca Stevens is an active priest actually doing all of this, and while maybe the perfect book would have been a bit different it was a snapshot of her life and their mission. As a religious millennial, it was inspiring and perhaps even more so through the book's imperfections. I made a sem ...more
Sabrina  Le
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
This novel is about the journey the author, Becca Stevens, and her fellow Thistle Stop Cafe founders went on to make the cafe a reality. Personally, I felt that there could've been much more impact and emotion in the story had Stevens concentrated more on the stories of the women who survived rough lives but managed to find themselves through tea & God. Yet, the entire novel comes off a little too sermon-y to me (which is unavoidable, considering that the author is a reverend). Each chapter seem ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
ehh. just okay. But I really appreciate Becca's life and ministry and this was an interesting book even though it was not at all what I expected it would be.
Dakota D
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great history of tea and the only source I can find so far talking candidly about the oppressions of the tea industry and ways to combat it and find ethical/more just tea sources. I wasn't expecting it to be as spiritual as it was (although the author is a reverend-- should've done my research!) and the main point storyline of the book is actually about this service support organization developing a tea cafe. It was still great and I learned a lot, but I think the title and subtitle led me to be ...more
Nicole Perkins
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Not as good as I'd hoped it would be, but one passage mostly makes up for that fact: "Tea [is] a beautiful symbol of the theological truth that we are all connected, and although each kind of tea has different effects and flavors, it's like love: It all comes from the same source but can be expressed a thousand ways. Not only are we drinking something beautiful, we are sipping something universal both in its roots and its application. Tea is the tie that binds us, and the tea we drink invites us ...more
Maria Longley
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, fa, non-fiction
Tea & Justice follows the journey that Becca Stevens and the Thistle Farms took in expanding their social enterprise to open a cafe. Stories of tea, communities, justice, mindfulness, hope and action, and meditations mingle together - and I fancied several cups of tea while reading this! It is a rather grand title and I was a little hesitant as I started fearing the wishy-washiness that could have been inside. But the writing was lovely and there was enough realness ringing through the grand hal ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Very close to a DNF but I did find that skimming (very very quick skimming) got me some interesting information. The subtitle and blurbage suggest that this is about tea and its history, while the vast majority of the book is about the author's travels and Thistle Stop Cafe and social justice. She experiences a tea ceremony, yet we don't get to experience it through her eyes - that's the point when I said, SKIM.

ARC provided by publisher.
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
"I drank my tea with a new resolve to live like this: fighting for justice and living in peace,"(Pg 158), this sums up the book. It's a beautiful book, with great recipes, and moving testimonials. I just thought there was gonna be more history, more stories about the women, and less fluffy wording. Think I went in with the wrong expectations :) I will definitely revisit this one and rate, again. Ready to dig into something with a little more action...

Michelle Nguyen
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was amazed by the structure of the story with recipes of different teas and how each had a connection to a significant story of a survivor of human trafficking, abuse, and addiction. The book overall depicts overcoming struggle of poverty and loss of hope. As Stevens experiences loss, she remembers why she decided to open up Thistle Farm's coffee shop in the first place. I felt enlightened by the successful outcome of the cafe and hope the workers all the best.
Leigh Kramer
Feb 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm a huge fan of Thistle Farms and Thistle Stop Cafe so I was looking forward to reading this. It almost seems like two different books: the story of tea and the story of how Thistle Stop Cafe came to be. This made for a disjointed reading experience. However, it was interesting to learn more about one of my favorite beverages and more of TSC's backstory.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-reviews
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

While I thought Stevens' story and the women's anecdotes were interesting I found the book to be repetitive at times. I also enjoyed the tea recipes at the beginning of each chapter. I also found the history of tea to be enlightening. I wish that aspect had been explored some more. Overall the book is entertaining.
Sam Torode
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When in Nashville, be sure to stop by the Thistle Stop Cafe... you're likely to find me there.

This is the story of the cafe--and the story of tea--by founder Becca Stevens. I'm awaiting a sequel on coffee ;-)
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Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, founder and president of Thistle Farms. After experiencing the death of her father and subsequent child abuse when she was 5, Becca longed to open a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community. In 1997, five women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction were welcomed home.

Twenty years later, the organizatio

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In these strange days of quarantine and isolation, books can be a mode of transport. We may have to stay home and stay still, but through t...
54 likes · 39 comments
“But it is hard not to let the historical oppression of women seep into the steeping frothy tea. Beauty and ritual are forever tied into the images of women that keep them from the fullest expressions of being human. At least that is how it feels sometimes. Keep women veiled and cinched and silent, and then they will be honored. In witnessing the scene before me, I know that the women who will work in the cafe will have borne the brutality of the world. I am too keenly aware that faith and ritual can truly be the ties that bind us to violence and complacency.” 0 likes
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