A CEREMONY OF TEA

For Rashmi Kashyap of Soul n’ Spirit, this post is for you.


I don’t remember exactly when, but a while ago … a month? two? It’s hard to keep track of time. I mentioned in a post how difficult it is to get good tea in the U.S. It isn’t impossible, of course. If you have sufficient resources, you can get anything.

Ordinary folk are limited to local shops and the ubiquitous Internet. The problem is not that tea (in general) is not available. It is quality tea, fresh tea, which is nearly unobtainable. By the time we get it, it’s old. Tired. Teabag tea is not tea. I’m not sure what it is.

tea pot, tea canister, tea

I’m sure there are sources for better tea, especially in cities which are home to large Asian communities. But not here. In this part of New England, items people can find routinely in shops elsewhere, are unavailable.

We won’t starve. Beef, chicken, some fish. If you want something more exotic (by local standards, anything other than brown gravy, white bread, and hamburgers is exotic), for example items you need to create Asian cuisine, are not for sale. For years, I couldn’t even find matzoh meal, which I never considered remotely exotic. Perhaps I am exotic.

We live in the country. Rural. On the plus side, we are blessed — in season — with fresh produce from local farms. Milk comes from cows who graze in green pastures and sleep contentedly in the shade on warm summer days. Eggs are laid by chickens who wander about, pecking and clucking. They don’t know how lucky they are.

glass teapot

We’ve got horses, goats, and the occasional llama … but fresh tea? Rice other than Carolina long grain? Spices? Fresh curry powder? Light or medium soy sauce?

It’s no wonder Americans are not tea drinkers considering the tasteless dust which passes for tea. I’m pretty sure our local Chinese restaurants makes its tea made from teabags in the kitchen. The only good tea I’ve had in years is the green tea at our Japanese restaurant.

tea in teapot

The miracles wrought by the Internet are not limited to exchanging email and reading each others’ blogs. Rashmi Kashyap of Soul n’ Spirit heard the yearning in my post. Last week, a package arrived from far away India.

Wrapped carefully in fabric, packed for its long journey around the world. Tea. Fresh, beautiful tea. Not the dry, old stuff you get here or even online, but tea so young it can remember growing in the earth.

teapot and canister

I have a big earthenware teapot and made a pot that same night. It was amazing. Garry admitted he had never tasted tea like that. It was a different experience.

I needed a smaller, brewing teapot suitable for a couple. I have owned several over the years, but since coming back from Israel, it has seemed pointless. Now, though, I have a reason.

brewed tea in glass teapot

Amazon to the rescue. One glass, brewing teapot, perfect for two people. A small canister to store the tea, seal out light and seal in freshness. A tea measuring spoon because (blush) I don’t remember how to measure tea anymore. After 33 years in the U.S., I can’t think metric.  I thought I couldn’t forget. I was wrong.

It took a couple of days to get my teapot and other things. Finally, I could properly serve tea.

It is a soul-enriching experience. Tea in the evening. A couple of crispy things on the side. Garry drank three cups (they are little cups, tea cups) as did I.

I thank my friend on the other side of the word with each sip. I cannot begin to express my gratitude. Maybe this post will help.



Categories: Anecdote, Blogging, Food, Friendship, Humor, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , ,

31 replies

  1. Me Mum wuz English .. from Guildford, Surrey.
    We had tea. A lot.
    “Would you like a cuppa tea dear.”
    “Uh … no thank you Mum.”
    10 minutes later: “Would you like a cuppa tea dear.”
    “No thankz Mum.”
    10 minutes later: “Here’s your cuppa tea Dear.”
    “Ah … thanks Mum.

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on soul n spirit and commented:
    A lot can happen over a TEA ! Never MET HER. Staying so far still feel so close……I am overwhelmed, touched by this lovely gesture of Marilyn Armstrong. Thanks for this love.

    Like

  3. Thank you so much ! I am touched ! blessed ! What else can I say ! You have made my gift worth so much which was ideally speaking a small friendly gesture from my side. The way you described the whole process of making tea, I bet it sounds like heaven. You and Garry enjoy sipping it in the evenings, it is a sheer pleasure for me. Your kind words are much appreciated. Oh yes, you have got a perfect tea-pot to make it a enjoyable exxperience. Thanks for this exclusive and high quality post. I am overwhelmed. I will reblog it for sure.

    Like

  4. What a kind gesture from Rashmi Kashyap!

    I’m lucky to live in a small town with two excellent tea shops. Both sell loose tea. The one owned by a Thai family also serves tea by the pot or cup. I go there about once a week to write. I usually order some variety of green or oolong tea. My late husband came from the Chinese province where oolong originated.

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  5. The tea craze has hit Montreal with umpteen David’s Tea shops dotting the landscape. The gazillion or so coffee shops – Second Cup, Presse Cafe, Starbucks, etc. – have been upping (cupping?) their tea menus to compete.

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  6. What a perfect little pot and blogging friends are awesome aren’t they!? Enjoy every sip! 😀

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  7. High quality post here. I’m blessed to live in a large coastal city with incredible ethnic diversity from India, China, Korea and many more peoples. Look anywhere and you see & hear a dozen languages spoken in public, on the MAX train and mass transit buses. This huge foreign presence creates diverse shops in Portland where tea, good tea, is king. Their pigeon hole drawers line the walls with every flavor of tea from around the world.

    You are truly blessed to have someone send you fresh teas that is worthy of a new pot. We live in a truly world economy and good tea is in demand here. You might live thousands of miles from your homeland but you can’t give up your tea. 🙂

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  8. Due to digestive recycling problems with coffee I only really drink tea and that for the past five years. I am english so you would think tea would be in my blood, but no, I never really liked the english milk tea and was a coffee person. Today I have completely lost the taste for coffee and drink tea. there are a lot of poor examples of tea in bags, admittedy, but beggers cannot be choosers so I found my solution in Twinings tea, which is an excellent quality. I buy bags because I just cannot be bothered to brew it fresh although I have a cupboard full of tea pots, in glass and china. However when I was a working lady in export, my countries were India and Taiwan, so I was often presented with gifts from visitng business men of tea. I am not keen on green tea. My favourite is the breakfast morning tea from Twinings, nice and strong to set me up for the day. After lunch I take Lady Grey with a hint of orange and in the evening I settle for my glass of Cranberry juice which has a positive effect on the bladder. I am not an expert, but I know what I like in tea. freshly brewed is fine, but there are some good quality tea bags, you just have to try. I wrote a blog on my tea choices some time ago, and even reblogged it last year.Cuppa Tea anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Years from now when you talk about me….and you will, please be kind.” (“Tea and Sympathy”).

      Like

    • There probably ARE some good quality teabags … where you live. Not here. Our teabags range from bad to horrible. Lipton. Salada. Red Rose. Yuk. But I’m delighted with this because it reminds me that once upon the time, before I started drinking coffee, I actually liked tea. Funny how I had forgotten over the years. I’m also enjoying the whole process of making the tea. Boiling the water and steeping it, watching how the color develops, then sitting with my cup and my little cookies. It goes so well with the long winter evenings. And it is much easier on the tummy than coffee.

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