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A cup of comfort

Tea is high on my list of things that are comforting. It is good whether one is celebrating something or seeking consolation, whether one is well or ill, whether it's a good day or a bad one. In fact, although I am not usually good at picking favorites in any category, next to a hug from my sweetheart, tea is the most comforting thing I can think of in this world.

It's small wonder that it has its own rituals in various countries of the world. And there's something very calming about the process of making tea, really. You have to put the kettle on to boil, then pour the water over the tea leaves (whether they are loose or in a bag, this part of the process is the same), and then you must exert a bit of patience and wait for the tea to steep the appropriate amount of time.

I know people who are extraordinarily anal and precise about the water temperature and the amount of time a particular type of tea must steep. (No lie - I know someone who sets timers for the tea, and the amount of time depends on the particular brand or type of tea in the cup. Assam tea is brewed for a different amount of time than, say, Earl Grey at her house.)

I am nowhere near as fussy as all that. I pour the water over the tea (usually a bag) and let it steep until it's what I consider about the right color, really. These days I've been drinking lots of Tetley, with honey and lemon added. But I have an entire cabinet shelf full of teas and tisanes, and sometimes I drink the other sorts. Some of them I like with sugar and milk, others with nothing at all. The one thing they have in common, besides being hot, is that they are all a source of comfort.

Here. Have a seat. Join me for a cup of tea.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2013 03:10 am (UTC)
I have only one tea ritual that I don't really deviate from--when I have hot tea, I drink out of the china teacup from a dear friend's wedding china, gifted to my daughter on the occasion of her engagement.

I stole the teacup, I freely admit it. My friend, a true heiress and one of the last living American "princesses" (ie, old money like the Carnegies and the Vanderbilts) is getting quite old. We won't have her with us much longer. I was so happy she loved my daughter enough to give her the wedding china she's had for over sixty years! It's beautiful, and it means the world to me. So, I can't be blamed for snatching a teacup and saucer. There were extras!

Jan. 3rd, 2013 03:57 pm (UTC)
I am certain you are right!
Jan. 3rd, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
When I was a little girl, mom would let us swim in the little pool outside until our lips turned blue. Then she'd feed us hot tea with lots of milk and sugar. So hot tea became linked with a number of things -- a lovely day doing the thing I most enjoyed (playing in water) and being given a special treat reserved for that time. Now I drink tea with a bit less milk and sugar but it still always makes me feel comforted and reassured that good things still exist in the world.
Jan. 3rd, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)
What a lovely association to have with tea - and yes, it really does seem like assurance that good things still exist in the world!
Jan. 5th, 2013 07:30 pm (UTC)
I go through stages--sometimes I do the whole loose-leaf, teapot thing. And, yes, sometimes with the timer! Right now, I've found a couple of tea bags that taste just about as good, and I seem to be dunking them quickly back & forth into the water and moving on. The bottom line for everything is that the tea, in whatever form, goes into the mug first, and the HOT, HOT water gets poured over it. They run when they see me coming at the coffee/teahouse. :)
Jan. 6th, 2013 01:15 am (UTC)
LOL! Have you ever watched The Mentalist? Simon Baker's character is a complete pain when it comes to his tea - precise temperatures, order, etc. Your note reminds me of that.

My good friend Angela will only drink her tea hot (as in scalding hot) - by the time it cools to what I consider a drinkable temperature, it's nearly too cold for her!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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