100 things I love 13: tea

I love tea. I love tea so much that a lot of people probably think I’m a coffee drinker. You see, I never drank tea at work. Hot water from a geyser? No thank you – it never tastes right – I think it must lose oxygen or something. And teabags of unknown provenance? Made in a mug? Probably by somebody who puts the milk in before they mash the bag against the side of the cup. No, no no!

I don’t drink tea in cafes very often. I will make an exception for Earl Grey if I’m feeling fancy.

Yes, I’m fussy.

I like my tea made in a teapot. I like the teapot to be warmed in advance. I like the tea to be stirred and then left under a tea-cosy for three to five minutes. Don’t bloody mash the tea-bag.

And I drink a lot of tea. So much tea, it’s hard to pick out memories to go with it. It would be like collecting memories of breathing or putting on socks.

My earliest tea memory is from Scotland. I must have been about 10, I was just starting to drink tea. I drank it with sugar, but this time we were out in the snow and somebody had forgotten the sugar. I drank my tea without it – it actually tasted better! No bitter aftertaste. I’ve only had sugar in tea once since then – I had news of a friend’s death when I was at the hairdressers, and they insisted on making me strong, sweet tea. Bizarrely, it helped.

In India, we liked to watch the chai-wallahs. We have a photo somewhere of a chai-wallah pouring hot, sweet spicy tea from up high into little clay cups. I always pour the water onto the tea from high up – partly for the pleasure of it, partly because I think it gets more oxygen in.

When we lived in Yorkshire, we drank Yorkshire Tea. Now my daughter’s up north, that’s what she drinks. Down here in Devon, we drink Miles tea. We bring a box of Barry’s home when we visit Ireland.

My father-in-law was a careful tea-maker. He used a metal pot, warmed, and then left partly on the electric ring on a very low heat. Tea was served after every meal, but there was no casual tea drinking. A biscuite was served in the saucer.

Just to let you know, dunking is evil. It ruins the tea AND the biscuit. Why would you do it?

About sarahsouthwest

I'm now in my early 50s. I started writing again as a way of exploring the world, and feel that over the last 2 years I have really grown as a writer. By day I work with children and young people with mental health difficulties. I juggle my own two children, my work, my writing practice, generally managing to keep all the balls up in the air.
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4 Responses to 100 things I love 13: tea

  1. memadtwo says:

    I’m a coffee drinker, but I remember my grandmother telling me to “hot the pot” when making tea. Now you’ve made me smile with the memory. Thanks!

  2. I’m with you on this. I am a very fussy tea drinker – teapot best of course, but I will tolerate it in a cup but that cup must be china and must be heated first 🙂

  3. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

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