TEA. PROPERLY.

I didn’t drink coffee until I was in my thirties, but from the day I discovered coffee, there was no turning back. I never liked coffee at home. I think what I didn’t like was the coffee my parents made at home.

They made some kind of typical American style canned coffee. Savarin, I think it was. They used a percolator and I loved the smell of the coffee on the stove, but to me it didn’t taste like something worth pursuing. When I moved to Israel in 1979, I met real coffee for the first time and it was love. I didn’t meet regular coffee, either. I encountered Moroccan or Bedouin coffee.

Boiled in a feenjon with sugar and served with foam on top. In tiny little cups by Bedouins who had a little glint in their eye because each was sure their coffee was the best of the best. I never found The Best coffee because it always seemed to me that the last cup I had was indeed, the best. From there I expanded into  Caffe Au Lait and other more standard brews, but always a lot stronger than the coffee I’d tried back in the U.S.

However. Before coffee, there was tea. Made from tea leaves and steeped in a proper teapot. Not bagged or boiled. Steeped. Five minutes in boiled water. You don’t need a lot of tea to make good tea. A little bit of The Good Stuff — fresh. Stored properly away from bright light and air.

When one of my fellow bloggers offered to send me some really good tea from India, I was thrilled. This was fresh tea from the fields where it grows. You can’t buy tea that fresh in the U.S. I’m pretty sure you can’t buy it anywhere except where it grows. After it arrived, I armed myself with a proper glass teapot that came with its own strainer and a couple of big glass mugs.

Coffee is for the morning. Coffee gets my feet moving on the ground. Clears the fuzziness from my brain and how good it tastes. But tea has its own space in my life.

Tea is for the evening. A couple of simple cookies and a cup of hot tea is settling. Peaceful. Comforting. It is the drink of the evening, the drink of long movies, and slow conversation.

There is a place for everything.

Drink up!

53 thoughts on “TEA. PROPERLY.

  1. “Tea and Sympathy” (’56/MGM) Deborah Kerr, John Kerr, Leif Erikson.

    ‘”Years from now when you talk about me, and you will, please be kind”. (Miss Kerr’s classic closing line w/ “Plasir d’ Amor” played wistfully under and then up full)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I used earthenware for years, but glass really works VERY well and it’s easy to see how dark it has gotten so you can tell if its done. All of the glass teapots seem to come from Japan where they too know a good pot of tea 😀 But this is a new thing. ALL my older pots were china or earthenware.

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        • It I could have found a teapot in my size with a basket in china I’d have bought it, but I couldn’t find one. They were all either teapots, buy your own basket (and if you are me, lose it by the following day), or one of these. It’s also pretty easy to clean these. You can see the tea stains.

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          • I can see the practicalities. Here, apart from tea bags, we just let the stuff brew in the water and pour through a tea strainer. I still use the little teapot I was given as a wedding gift thirty five years ago…. by my French boss, oddly enough.

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  2. “Would you like a cup of tea Jeremy?”
    “Uh … no thanks Mum.”
    Fifteen minutes later …
    “Would you like a cup Jeremy?”
    Oh … uh, no thanks Mum, I’m OK.”
    Fifteen minutes later …
    “Here’s your cup of tea Jeremy.”

    Thanks Mum.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a kid, I always liked the way coffee smelled.., then I tasted it and was shocked. It was nothing like the smell. I later realized that the smell, I experienced, was the flavor escaping from the bag, or can, into the air to be intercepted by my nose. Like your parents mine used some kind of pre-ground brand.., A&P, Martinsons, or Maxwell House? They cooked it in a percolator, which brewed it over and over again, slowly killing any flavor that might have, otherwise, survived. That didn’t deter me, I still wanted some. My mom, after constant pleading made me, what she called “Coffee Milk” mostly milk. Many years later, a friend of mine, who’d spent a bunch of time in Europe, introduced me to real coffee. The rest is “history?’

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  4. I so loved this! So very true as well. I love coffee in the morning, tea most evenings. There’s something so relaxing about it. Your so right, tea is for conversation and relaxing. 🙂 Thank you for writing this very delightful and insightful article on tea and coffee. Love it.

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  5. I don’t drink tea much in the summer, except iced tea. A good thing to.make in the summer is “sun tea.” Just put a variety of tea bags into a large glass carafe and set it in the sun for several hours. Then remove the tea bags and store the tea in the refrigerator. My son, not a tea drinker usually, loves it!

    As for coffee, I too always disliked American coffee. I found out about good coffee on my first trip to Brazil. I fell in love with the smoothness of Costa Rican coffee when I spent a month there. Now because of Starbucks, coffee roasting companies have popped up all over the U.S. so it’s easy to get good coffee here now. I used to drink 3+ cups of coffee a day, but now I have cut it down to one cup in the morning, because I have GERD. So I try to savor that one cup!

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    • Costa Rican coffee was my favorite for years. It probably would still be if I could afford it. It just got too expensive, so we are into columbian, which is pretty good. Strong. Strong is important!

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  6. Coffee until noon..Good Strong coffee at least 4 cups. It takes the edge of since I am not very nice early in the day. Afternoon I smile and enjoy my tea. I also like it strong. My mom used to drink Lipton Tea and I could never understand why. Then I spent some time in Wales and Anglesey met real tea and have been hooked every since..

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  7. Being British by birth i naturally favour tea as my ‘daily’ drink of choice, but i do enjoy my coffee also – although i do so because of the milk and sugar involved, and hate it ‘straight’ – waaaayyy too bitter for my palette. My tea also needs the adulteration of milk and sugar. I’ll drink green tea straight when i visit a Chinese or Japanese restaurant but black tea/coffee? Not for me! 🙂

    I know that technically caffeine is a stimulant but i’ve never personally noticed that much of an effect on my mood or energy level with or without it and have never felt the ‘need’ for a coffee (or tea) to start my day/make me feel human. It’s just something i drink after a meal, mostly. (Curiously, never after breakfast though??) My first of 5 or 6 tea/coffees is around 11:30 am.

    love

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    • I know. Tea may have caffeine, but it isn’t the same stuff as I get in coffee. Maybe its the delivery system? When I was a kid, I was told that tea had “tannic acid” which worked like caffeine, but was a different substance. When I grew up, they changed it, but I think they got it right the first time.

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  8. It seems they did get it ‘wrong’ or rather there was some confusion in the scientific community about tannic acid which is a huge compound molecule based upon the simpler tannins. Tea has more tannin (not tannic acid) in the form of flavinols and around 1/3 to 1/2 the caffeine of coffee depending upon each type.

    I suspect that like almost every product, manufacturing and sourcing costs have ensured that the way the beverages used to be made has been ‘improved’ (read: spoiled) for cost effectiveness/company profit moreso than consumer satisfaction levels.

    love

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  9. I have gone on tea binges. I’ve bought all kinds of flavored teas and tried them. I’ll drink bagged tea as well as loose tea though. I’m not a purist. My son got into teas and has a whole giant drawer full of loose tea to brew. He mixes flavors together like he’s cooking a stew – a little of this, a little of that. He’s really good at coming up with interesting flavor combinations.

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    • In my pre-coffee period, I tried to get serious about tea. It never quite “did it” for me, though. It was okay, but kind of dull. I also tried the “pinch of this, pinch of that” and occasionally got something interesting, but once I found coffee, well … Coffee.

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