Browsing through the most recent mods for MC 1.11.2 on curse.com, I came across a fun little mod by elucent (who is involved in quite a number of mods). It’s called “Simply Tea!”, and an apt name that is, too. It adds … wait for it … tea to the game. Yes, it’s simple, hence the name of the mod. But what makes this mod interesting is the detail that goes into producing a cup of tea.
Simply Tea! adds just one item to world gen: tea trees (the camellia sinensis kind from which we get black and green tea, not the melaleuca kind, from which we get an essential oil that is poisonous to dogs – don’t ask how I know this). You’ll have to do a little exploration to find one (not an inordinate amount, though), but they’re easily recognizable. They use a unique custom model and texture which is very pleasant to look at, and I could see a lot of landscaping uses for these plants. You either chop them down with an axe or (preferably) right click on the leaves with a pair of shears. Note that you right click on them, not left click. It’s like shearing sheep rather than like harvesting the leaves from a typical Minecraft tree. And if you use shears rather than an axe, the leaves grow back (and pretty quickly, too).
However you harvest the tea tree, you will get a selection of tea leaves, tea tree saplings, and sticks (so the tea trees actually have a possible function beyond just tea – providing a steady supply of sticks, which you can use to fuel a furnace so as not to waste coal when you heat up your tea kettle). The tea leaves must be put in tea bags before they can be turned into a delicious cup of tea. Tea bags are made from paper and string, so they are pretty easy to produce. To make green tea bags, just craft tea bags with the tea leaves that you harvest from the tea tree. However, if you want to make black tea, you’ll need to cook the tea leaves in a furnace and put the result in a tea bags.
You’ll two more items before you can drink your first cup of tea: a tea kettle and a tea cup. Both use clay and dye, and both are infinitely reusable. The cup uses three clay in a bowl shape and one bone meal in the middle, so no problem, there. The kettle, uses four clay and one piece of cyan dye. Yes, cyan dye, and nothing can replace that. That means unless you’re playing with a mod that adds a cyan colored flower, you’re going to need to procure lapis lazuli and cactus green (so get ready to do some exploring, if you’re starting a new game).
Once you have the empty tea kettle, right click with it on a water source to fill it up. Then, cook it to create a boiling tea kettle item. The kettle apparently has like NASA level insulating ability, because it stays boiling until you use up all the water in it. One boiling tea kettle can fill four cups of tea (not unlike real life) before it has to be refilled and recooked in a furnace. To make a cup of tea, craft the kettle, a bag of either green or black tea, and a tea cup together (the recipe is shapeless). Each cup of tea can be sipped twice, filling a little bit of the hunger bar each time. Black tea apparently fills a little more than green tea.
All of this detail means that you are not likely to drink a cup of tea on your first Minecraft day (though it is certainly with the realm of possibility for your first sitting on a new world). You need to find a tea tree and procure the following ingredients before you can make your first cup of tea: paper, string, clay, bone meal, lapis lazuli, and cactus green. Because of the increased rarity of desert biomes in recent version of Minecraft, the cactus green may be the ingredient that takes the longest. In my most recent vanilla game, I honestly had to travel several thousand blocks to find the nearest desert, so I went without cactus green for a long time. This means that creating your first cup of tea is actually kind of an accomplishment (I’d like to see an achievement added for this moment). That cup of tea is by no means a game changer. It restores a little hunger, and that’s it. But it also adds the simple charm of tea to the game.
Honestly, this mod seems like a basis for a much bigger mod. I’d love to see more tea cups, more kettles, and making them placeable in the world. There are many different kinds of teas and many different ways to make tea (adding tea and sugar). Even sticking simply with the singular species camellia sinensis, there are regional varieties, such as Assam and Darjeeling. And beyond simply filling the hunger bar, each variety of tea and each preparation (black, with milk, with sugar, etc.) could have a very light enchantment value. I’d be totally in favor of overhauling Minecraft’s potion system (which is one of my least favorite parts of the game) and replacing it with tea. I don’t think that’s where elucent is thinking about taking this mod, but I can hope, can’t I?