Sunday 18 May 2014


I have been thinking about tea for the last few days. Generally, I give little or no thought to it at all, not because I don’t care, but because after a lifetime of drinking tea I am comfortable with my tea the way I drink it.

My parents drank coffee almost exclusively when I was growing up, so tea was something little old ladies drank at a church social while trying to balance a plate of cookies on a knee. When I was in high school, tea was the drink that my friends and I drank when solving the world’s problems. Generally, no matter how crazy the party was, it would always end up with a close group of friends sitting at the kitchen table drinking tea.

Tea is the drink that I begin my day with and have done so pretty much my entire adult life. Tea just seems the best way to start a day. I have tried many different varieties, green teas, black teas, white teas, herbal teas, rooibos teas and all sorts of different blends. Some teas can relax me, some get me wired, some are good to cure what ails me and some can even tell my fortune. Some teas come bagged, some are loose, and now I understand I can get my tea in a K-cup, but to tell you the truth, I find it easier to deal with bagged tea.

The tea I have spent most time with in my life is orange pekoe. It’s the type that was widely available when I was younger and I would always drink Red Rose tea from Brooke Bond Foods. I worked for Brooke Bond Foods for a while, so I guess that might be part of the reason. It was also the best of the limited varieties of orange pekoe teas. Every now and then, if things are just right, the temperature of the water, the time the tea is steeped, the perfect amount of sugar and I suppose just the right attitude, I can create a perfect cup.

The perfect cup is a very individual thing and impossible to quantify. I have a friend that must let the tea bag steep for three minutes, no more and no less. Another friend has to have two tea bags per cup and it must steep for fifteen minutes. He must like tea that you can stand a spoon up in. I will generally pour the water over the bag in the mug and stir it until it is just the right colour and when I just begin to smell the tea. I often use a bag twice, but the second cup is never as good as the first cup.

I have never had any luck with a pot of tea, unless there is a group and the entire pot is consumed at one sitting. It gets too strong if it sits in the pot for any length of time, even if the bags are taken out. Maybe it just gets old. Most pots also dribble when poured which is just irritating. I did have a little yellow teapot once that held just one cup and it never failed to make the perfect cup of tea. I lost track of that pot for many years and only saw it again in a box when my daughter moved out of the house. I couldn’t very well say I wanted to keep the pot, but I wanted to keep that teapot. I suppose she deserved a few years of having the perfect cup of tea too.

Although I drink my share of coffee when I am out and about, whenever I am at home there is always a mug of tea beside me, helping to watch that TV show, read the book or newspaper and to keep me company when I am working on the “honey-do” list.

I am taking part in a focus group on tea and I needed to do something on “Tea and Me”, so I figured what the hell, two birds with one stone. The focus group pays much better than the blog, but then anything is better than nothing…right?

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