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. Garry Armstrong July 26, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    “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

      • Garry Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 12:09 pm

        Can see Deborah Kerr saying the line as only she could. One of the nicest moments for me when I met her. Genuinely nice lady.


  2. Sue Vincent July 26, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    My British soul immediately cringed at the thought of anything other than a china or earthenware teapot 😉 How easily we are conditioned….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn Armstrong July 26, 2017 / 1:07 pm

      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.


      • Sue Vincent July 26, 2017 / 1:08 pm

        I know they are good… I’m just stuck in my ways…and great granny would never forgive me for glass 🙂


        • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 12:16 pm

          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.


          • Sue Vincent July 27, 2017 / 12:33 pm

            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.


            • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 2:16 pm

              I hadn’t actually thought of a tea strainer. I have no idea why. I used to collect tea pots. I had a couple of dozen of them and one day I freaked out and gave away or sold ALL of them. Then, I realized I didn’t own anything in which I could make tea. Oops.


              • Sue Vincent July 27, 2017 / 2:19 pm

                There’s something very homely about teapots. Lots of memories attached to them too.


                • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 2:22 pm

                  I think I only bought one or two, but then everyone seemed to think it was a collection, so I started getting them as gifts. I had several shelves full of them. I just wanted one really good teapot that wouldn’t LEAK when I poured it. Everything dribbled. I wanted something that wouldn’t dribble. The glass one does NOT dribble and it is the only one I’ve ever found that pours neatly. That may sound dumb, but I have strong feelings on dribbling tea pots.


                  • Sue Vincent July 27, 2017 / 3:14 pm

                    I can quite understand that. Many cafes here still use steel teapots…and they ALWAYS dribble.


                    • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 3:38 pm

                      I had a china teapot that didn’t dribble. It didn’t survive the trip from Israel to New York and I have never found another like it. My mother bought it in England. Maybe that is the secret.


                    • Sue Vincent July 27, 2017 / 3:41 pm

                      Perhaps so… what a shame it didn’t survive.


                    • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 3:44 pm

                      I had an ex husband who made sure it didn’t. I try not to think about it. It just makes me mad … even all these years later.


                    • Sue Vincent July 27, 2017 / 3:51 pm

                      Ah. I can relate to that… many things were lost, but freedom gained makes up for it all.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 5:57 pm

                      I try not to “go back” that way. There’s no point in it. It’s over and long since done. So when for some reason, it pops into my brain, I have to work at making it go away. I have enough real time stuff going on without digging into the past, too.


                    • Sue Vincent July 27, 2017 / 6:06 pm

                      I know what you mean. Memories are one thing, living in and with their consequences is another.


  3. swo8 July 26, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    I’m the same way, strong expresso in the morning and tea there after.

    Liked by 1 person

      • swo8 July 26, 2017 / 1:11 pm

        We used to have a coffee at the evening meal until I couldn’t sleep one night. I was literally pacing all night. Found a leak in the roof. After that I stuck to just drinking coffee in the am.


  4. Ilze July 26, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    Nice! I’m on my way to the kitchen to make a cup of tea 🙂 Looks delicious!


  5. jcalberta July 26, 2017 / 1:15 pm

    “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

    • Marilyn Armstrong July 26, 2017 / 5:44 pm

      People who are serious about tea are SERIOUS about tea. To be fair, people who are serious about coffee are pretty much the same. The only thing that changes is what’s in the cup 😀


    • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 12:19 pm

      We seem to get surprisingly passionate about hot drinks. I’m sure that means something. I just have no idea exactly what.


  6. omniclassic July 26, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    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?’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn Armstrong July 26, 2017 / 8:18 pm

      Yup, that’s what happened to me. The coffee my parents made was not worth the effort of swallowing, but when I discovered REAL coffee, well … I LOVE coffee. But tea is okay, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Garry Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 12:15 pm

        Remember scene in “Harper” when Paul Newman discovers he’s out of coffee. Goes to garbage can and reluctantly takes out previous day’s musty coffee in filter. Look on his face is priceless.


        • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 12:20 pm

          I don’t think I’ve ever been THAT desperate. The day may yet come, but so far, so good.


  7. Covert Novelist July 26, 2017 / 2:38 pm

    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.


    • Marilyn Armstrong July 26, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      You are welcome. If I keep thinking about politics, I think my brains will fall out of my ears.


        • Marilyn Armstrong July 26, 2017 / 8:12 pm

          I think it’s possible that parts of my brains have already slipped into another dimension. I REALLY need a break!


          • Covert Novelist July 26, 2017 / 11:19 pm

            Your going soon Right? I’m having a 3 day break, everyone went camping, so no graaaaama this solve that lol. Since I haven’t slept in 3 days and am disgustingly tired, it’s a good thing. Not that I truly mind, but everyone needs time off for good behaviour smirk smirk


  8. amoralegria July 26, 2017 / 3:39 pm

    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!


    • Marilyn Armstrong July 26, 2017 / 5:40 pm

      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!


  9. loisajay July 26, 2017 / 9:45 pm

    My parents always drank Maxwell House instant coffee. I grind my own beans! That glass teapot is beautiful, Marilyn.


    • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 12:42 am

      The teapot is a Japanese pot and it makes great tea. Got it on Amazon. They make a bigger version, too.


  10. ravenhawks magazine July 27, 2017 / 12:39 am

    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..


    • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 12:41 am

      My mother needed coffee. She was not a human until the third cup. It might not have been particularly good coffee, but she didn’t care. She liked coffee everything. Coffee ice cream. Coffee chocolate. Coffee milk.


        • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 12:06 pm

          Lord knows, my mother did. Without coffee, the only option left was to flee the house and keep running.

          Liked by 1 person

          • ravenhawks magazine July 27, 2017 / 2:26 pm

            I believe my children would say the same was true for me so they learned to make coffee , really good coffee, I could tell when I was not going to be happy with something they had to tell me because they presented me with a large mug of coffee first. Waited until I had finished it then let me know that they needed two dozen cupcakes by noon. Of course they were half way to the bus stop before that completely sunk in.


  11. lwbut July 27, 2017 / 2:19 am

    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.



    • Marilyn Armstrong July 27, 2017 / 12:08 pm

      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.


  12. lwbut July 28, 2017 / 2:46 am

    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.



    • Marilyn Armstrong July 28, 2017 / 11:39 am

      Whatever it is, it certainly lacks the “kick” of coffee. Thanks for looking it up!


  13. Ellin Curley July 28, 2017 / 3:32 pm

    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.


    • Marilyn Armstrong July 28, 2017 / 4:17 pm

      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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