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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tea for All

It's inevitable.  As I write these blogs, I will reveal myself in unexpected ways.  We might as well start with the ritual of tea.  I have standards for producing the perfect cup of tea.  Not to say that I disdain tea from Dunkin Donuts when I'm desperately craving a cuppa, after all, when a girl has a craving, what's a girl to do?  Recently, my dear friend delivered a Breville Tea Kettle to me.  I have wanted one for such a long time.  The first time I saw one was in France.  It was so handy to have water heated to the correct temperature to make tea. Not all tea leaves brew well with boiling water.  Some need their delicate flavor coached out at 175 degrees or 185 degrees rather than 212 degrees.  Having the proper tool is essential.

There is not enough time to discuss the varieties of tea: herbal, organic, medicinal, teas made for mass-market appeal (there is no reason to snub your nose at Lipton and Salada drinkers - they are our brethen, too), home-grown and any number of mixed flavors such as lemon mint green, strawberry oolong etc...  Suffice it to say, there is, indubitably, a tea waiting to be brewed for you.  Currently, I am partial to Allegrs'a Organic China White Citrus.  I wake up and within minutes of cracking, popping and easing my joints into place, my mind turns to having a cup of tea.

A further idiosyncratic quirk; give me porcelain.  I want to feel the delicate, smooth rim of a porcelain tea cup between my lips as I take that first sip.  Mugs hold greater volume but the satisfaction of drinking out of porcelain can not be disputed.  I prefer sugar cubes to granulated sugar.  I use honey with teas that have a mint or lemon note.  Tea bags are easier than loose tea, but there is a ceremony to making and pouring a pot of tea using loose teas.  It turns a moment into a special moment. 

I have four tea pots. I am able to welcome guests when they come to call.   The Japanese tea pot is a tiny pot that serves four petite demitasse cups.   The second pot has "made in Japan" stamped on it.  A high school friend found it in an antique store and bought it for me.  The largest pot serves six generous cups of tea, or four mugs.  It has been in our family for sixty five years.  Just the sight of it reassures me.  There's very little in life that can't be faced with the calmer countenance one gains after a cup of tea. 

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