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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Oral Histories

Common phrases such as “let’s grab a cup of coffee” or “it’s tea time” underscore the significance of these beverages in our everyday lives. As early as the seventeenth century, coffee and tea houses were places to meet for business, learn the latest news, or simply relax with a hot beverage.

Peace Corps volunteers have experienced the social customs and traditions that accompany the consumption of these two beverages around the world. Even if they may find some varieties of coffee too bitter or some forms of tea too sweet, volunteers quickly learn that sharing a cup or two with new friends and colleagues is one of the surest ways to adapt to their new surroundings.

On display in the Peace Corps program area are different varieties of coffee beans and tea plants from countries where Peace Corps volunteers are serving. You may also want to try a beverage from one of our nearby stands, even if it may not be “your cup of tea.”

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