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.
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.
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.