Saturday, February 26, 2011

A cup o' tea

I'm holding a cup of tea in my hand, looking at its steamy surface. I made it too sweet today and can barely taste the linden. If you live in our crazy coffee-driven, beer-cheerful and additive-filled times, you'll probably quirk an eyebrow. "Who still drinks tea nowadays, except for old people or when they have a cold?"

No, don't get me wrong. Not instant tea, not the popular ice tea, nor even flavoured black tea. Plain old linden tea with honey. It's ridiculously out of style, that sound of the teaspoon clinking against the porcelain cup.

There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

My parents and I used to go to the mountains almost every year and pick plants for tea. They were always fresher and cleaner deep in the mountains, away from the busy dusty roads and towns. We picked all kinds of plants, from yarrow to St. John's wort, dried them and kept them in CD boxes.

And, during cold winter evenings, we would make a full kettle, a cup for each of us and a little to spare. It was a kind of family bonding event and it warmed us up and calmed us down. I knew exactly how to make tea and how long to keep the plants in before they became too bitter. We always had tea with honey, another odd quirk that I don't think is still popular today.

Today, I'm not as careful anymore. I don't pick plants myself, I use tea bags. I don't time the infusion anymore, because tea bags aren't effective flavour dispensers. I don't always have honey, not good honey anyway.

I don't really have anyone to drink tea with anymore, since my dad is gone and I'm not home anymore. But I'm still going to try to enjoy a good cup of tea, full of memories and stories.

"I don't drink coffee, I take tea, my dear..."


  1. This was a lovely, nostalgic, poetic post, Lavi! I would really enjoy hearing more about your childhood (where you grew up etc. as it sounds blissful!).

    My family and I have always been tea drinkers. It's how we begin each day - a pot of tea upon awakening and then again, mid-morning. We switch to coffee after lunch and in the evening after dinner. Whenever we returned home from having been anywhere at all (shopping, visiting, holidays), the first thing my Mum did was switch on the kettle for tea! She still does!

    Picking your own leaves sounds ever so romantic. I have never had Linden tea, but do occasionally enjoy herbal teas and always with honey and a slice of lemon. Our day-to-day tea is flavoured black, of the teabag variety (lemon, orange or Earl Gray), which I drink with milk and no sweetener. I am also very particular and will not drink tea from a mug! It has to be a pretty, wide-mouthed cup, resting on a saucer ;)

    I love the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote - a favourite philosopher, introduced to me by my Dad many years ago!

    Tea rituals remain an intrinsic part of so many cultures, I doubt tea drinking will ever fall out of favour! And honey in tea, especially wild honey, imparts the most delicious flavours and you keep on savouring your tea!!!

  2. Hi Lavi,
    Of course, being English makes me a big tea drinker. Tea is therapeutic and very special. I even still get people to get my favourite brand of Tea from England and send it over. My Father used to drink nine or ten cups a day. I love the description of the ritualistic part of tea drinking. In England tea is offered as a welcoming drink, a tranquilizer for shock, a wake up drink, a bedtime drink, to warm you up actually for any reason. I glad you are a tea fan too.


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