Comfort in a cuppa

For years, I’ve had a exclusive love affair with coffee. In the mornings, the kids know not to ask me really hard questions like “Is it going to be cold today?” before I’ve downed at least one cup.

My husband and I committed to the java lifestyle. We bought a coffee maker that will grind the beans and brew on a programmed timer so that a lovely fresh pot is ready right as we wake up. I leave two clean mugs out on the counter, poised in front of this wonderful machine, so that the first person to the kitchen (usually my husband) doesn’t have to think — he can just pour the essence of bean right into the cups, splash a little creamer into it and go.

I still love my bracing jolt of coffee in the mornings, but lately I find myself drawn to the comforting ritual of making tea in the late afternoons/early evenings. I’m seeking that hit of zen-in-a-cup because I find I’m ruminating now about those things I can’t control, including:

    • My oldest is “graduating” from 8th grade, which means next year he will be a high schooler, which means he’s really and truly growing up. While I’m thrilled for him, proud as can be, and happy that he’s learning to define himself in his terms, there are days I just want him to be 5 again. Isn’t that something?
    • We’re heading into the busy season of end-of-the-year field trips and parties and projects and events and concerts. While I don’t want to miss a minute of any of it, I’m pretty sure that Sleep — normally a fair-weather friend of mine anyway — will forget my name, snapping its fingers at my bloodshot eyes as it searches to remember who I am.
    • I know you’re probably sick of hearing people (read, me) gripe about the weather, but seriously — what’s happened to this spring? Some of our friends are still cleaning up from last week’s horrible deluge — you can see waterlogged belongings and carpet on the curb as you drive past their houses. Cleaning up is even harder when rain continues to sweep across our area and the temperatures stubbornly remain below normal.

All this does is make me want to brew endless cups of tea and knit something comforting.


There is, as the late Christopher Hitchens wrote, a proper way to make tea. And may I say? He’s absolutely right.

my cup of tea

We found this store not far from us that sells all sorts of loose-leaf teas. Chamomille, spearmint, vanilla, hibiscus, chocolate chai, orange, green, black or otherwise — you name it, they have it. The place smells amazing.

At IKEA we bought two of these mesh tea-brewing gizmos. No tea bags to fish out, no losing the string in the boiling hot water.

making loose-leaf tea

I’ve found this variety — “Earl Grey moonlight” which is really Earl Grey with a hint of vanilla tea added — is my absolute favorite. Pour the water just off the boil through this little strainer and brew for 5 minutes. Add a splash of milk and a hit of agave or honey, and it’s instant warmth and divine relaxation in a well-worn cup with its chipped edge.

My daughter E has taken to drinking the occasional cup of tea when she gets home from school (we only let her use the decaf ones). I think she enjoys the same routine and the chance to slow down and unwind. Isn’t it funny how something so simple can offer such comfort?

Now I just need to find the perfect tea biscuit recipe that I can make at home. Any ideas?

And what kind of drink do you find you have to have every day? Coffee, tea, soda, or milk or something else? Drop me a comment with your beverage of choice.

About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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27 Responses to Comfort in a cuppa

  1. daniellajoe says:

    Nice post!!! And yes why can’t kids just stay kids forever lol

  2. mtetar says:

    Tea is my favorite especially with a nice aroma. Pretty Mug! Be Blessed, Mtetar

  3. tea! Always. And now that I avoid caffeine, fancy decaf organic tea when I can get it…I love a good cup of early grey, but you have to be careful in cafes here in Berlin as sometimes they’ll bring you a mildly hot cup of water and a separate tea bag (and no milk!) which is a pain because then you don’t get that all important infusion with boiling hot water. Grrr.

    • You know I used to think tea was okay — but then I realized that I had been making it wrong forever! Once I boiled the water and got the proper infusion part down, I fell in love with tea!

      We have the same issue with cafes in the States: warmish water with a side tea bag and no milk. Depressing, really!

  4. Btw, thanks for blogging about tea – as you can probably tell – its one of my favourite pastimes and talking points…

  5. I’m a coffee girl myself…but occasional crave a cup of tea. I remember my mother making me “tea” when I was little…my mug filled with milk and just a splash of actual tea…but I felt like such a grown-up! Lately I’ve taken to drinking hot water with lemon. Sounds odd, but it’s actually quite nice.

    • Is it the warmth that you enjoy, Kelly? My mom is like that — loves coffee or tea as long as it’s hot! My husband drives her crazy when he drinks his coffee stone cold…

      I think my daughter loves the little ritual of choosing her tea, filling the infuser, waiting for it to steep, pouring in the honey and milk. Of course when the weather warms up, it might be a different story… πŸ™‚

  6. Nice post! I cannot live without two cups of freshly brewed coffee every morning. And I adore green tea with a twist of lemon in the afternoon and/or evening. Coffee is to wake me up, tea is to calm me down. πŸ™‚

    • “Coffee is to wake me up, tea is to calm me down.” That’s a true formula for living, don’t you think? Sounds wonderful to me.

      I’ve never tried lemon in my tea — only milk and honey or agave. Might give that a whirl!

  7. I love tea! I love my collection of mismatched tea cups. I love picking what flavor I’m in the mood for. What I don’t love is how often this happens: Step 1) I make a cup of tea 2) Then it sits ’til it’s cold while I’m chasing the kids 3) Repeat process until I no longer want the tea. Ha!

  8. I am a daily…all day coffee drinker…pretty much wired all of the time! I actually do enjoy tea but always forget I have it since it’s in a box in the cupboard! Today it’s going to be gray and rainy here….thanks for reminding me to have a cup of tea….I think it will be a perfect day for it!

    • I used to be an all-day coffee drinker too, but lately the little ritual of tea in the afternoons just seems to hit the spot where a jolt of coffee seems too much after noon. Weird how tastes change, isn’t it? Hope that never happens with chocolate!

  9. Lynne says:

    I love my super-strong coffee in the morning! Afternoons, I rotate between teas and an occasional espresso! Check out some of the teas available at Trader Joe’s…good stuff!

  10. Coffee. Then another coffee. Then maybe a grande non-fat latte if I’m feeling adventurous, want to get in a serving of milk, and there’s still a balance on my Starbucks card!

  11. I know your post was about the morning ritual of coffee, tea and the things in your life that can’t be controlled which is so true. I so connected with your complaint about the weather this Spring. Like seriously! it has been a cold, snowy month of April on the other side of the continent where I live. Now it is finally warm but it is so windy that you are sucking air and trying to stand up straight when you want to enjoy some fresh air. The grass isn’t even green yet. Ho-hum. I don’t mind your complaining at all because misery likes company. Hope you are having a great weekend. ~Thea

    • Oh Thea, I can get into quite the weather grump, if allowed. I am over this wacky weather that won’t let go over the cold. Over it! πŸ™‚

      Hoping for blue skies and warm grass for you (and for your dad)! Hugs, Joan

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