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Poem Authored by Mel Finefrock

Here at the Cultured Cup, we host open tea and coffee tastings all day on Saturdays. We love the social atmosphere that is created with our tea bar in the middle of the shop. Many interesting people from all walks of life, sit down initially to try some new teas or coffee. Enjoying tea together, many customers open up and connect sharing stories, knowledge, and art. In July we had Timothy Chacko, who collaborated with owner Kyle Stewart, to create Arka Masala Chai. Customer and author, Mel Finefrock, stopped by and later created this beautiful peace to share with us. 

The introduction for this piece in her words, "I frequently draw poetic inspiration from mindful moments with tea, so while Timothy Chacko brewed some of his wonderful Arka Masala Chai for us, I read a few tea poems, this one among them.

Cornucopia” is inspired by the magic of chai, the magic of meeting Timothy this August and the magic of connection fostered by the Cultured Cup. When I wrote this poem, I asked Timothy the meaning of “Arka” so I could be sure to include it in the body of the poem. This is what he wrote:

“I chose the name Arka as it means essence in Sanskrit. The goal of my project was to truly serve the essence of what is chai. Historically, the word held many meanings. Sometimes it referred to an Ayurvedic plant, or an herb distillate, and even as a life-force in religious texts.”
And now… Arka’s essense on the page."


Most mornings, I brew

the same masala chai
in the same caldron,
a seasoned mug
whose bestower loved me
to the moon and back.

I never tire
of this ritual;
chai is like magic on good days
and medicine on bad ones.

Today, it was both.

Today, my head felt crowded,
my heart heavy,
my home
like an island.

Restless, I ventured
to the tea house
where like minds meet
over cultured cups,
where tea is a love language
and belonging
feels easier
than it often does elsewhere.

I lean into the embrace
of an old friend
and observe
the potions master at work,
drinking in
a perfume
as sweet and salty somehow
for the cardamom and saffron
as it is spicy
with cinnamon and ginger.

I've lost track of time
and how much chai I've had,
but I don't mind.
Its healing essence warms me,
and the human connection
fills my cup
to overflowing.

About the AuthorMel Finefrock wears many hats. She’s a poet, musician, customer-experience specialist, aspiring accessibility professional, disabled rights activist, insufferable romantic, tea/coffee lover—and guess what? She wrote this in braille! Mel has been a customer and friend of The Cultured Cup since 2014 and frequently draws poetic inspiration from mindful moments with tea. She is the author of Patchwork Poetry and has received creative writing awards from UNT, her alma mater, and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. Mel lives in a treehouse apartment with her tuxedo cat, Bodee, and can be found studying astrology or reading anything from poetry to sci-fi.


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