I’ve been a tea drinker since my earliest years (back in the days when moms didn’t pay as much attention to the caffeine intake of their children). The early tea comrade in my life was my Aunt Jan. I remember when she used to visit and my mom would make a pot of tea in the Pyrex glass pot that could stay on the stove. That pot came to represent comforting times of family talk and laughter, usually with cake.
Since then, tea itself has come to represent comfort. From the first sip in the morning that generates a day-starting sigh of relief, to the relaxing cuppa in the evening, tea cheers and soothes, is for good talks and good books, and warms a chill better than anything (hot chocolate is a distant second). There’s a reason why explorers of both poles made tea a priority for their provisions.
One of favourite travels took me to Harrogate, England, home of Betty’s Tea Room – a mecca of sorts for tea lovers. I know I couldn’t possibly have, but I like to think I went there every day during my visit, for a large pot of tea and an order of the best cinnamon toast in the world. Shortly after, my good friend there gifted me a memento that I treasure to this day: a Fat Rascal mug (I’m sure there’s no hidden meaning in the name…).
Lately, I read this treatise on tea from George Orwell. My only disagreements with Mr. Orwell are on points 5 and 11. These days, it is hard to dispute the convenience of the tea bag, and one doesn’t have to slum on cheap teas or bags to keep things neat and tidy but still high quality (and following item 7 provides sufficient freedom to the tea for steeping). And as for tea without sugar – simply inconceivable.
Tea comforts both body and spirit, adds warmth to camaraderie and conversation, and brings back memories. As I was quoted during that Harrogate trip, while enjoying my afternoon tea and cookies, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”