25 September 2007

How do you like your tea?


Well, of course things got better. I stand on the sun sunny side of the street, and once again everything is right with the world, and what's not right will be so eventually, with a little work and love. My dad is still in intensive care. I'm going to visit him next week. Let's talk about something else.

This afternoon I walked to town with Meg. It is a gorgeous day and I had to ask myself what in tarnation possessed me to wear jeans. My legs yearned for a skirt. I've fixed that now.

After Meg and I parted ways I went to the Co-op and got some tea. Sometimes I'm a little self conscious about fixing tea in public, because I generally use two tea bags of the strongest black tea, a good deal of soy milk, and a big gob of honey. I'm not a tea purist in the sense I think some health food store frequenters are. I like it sweet and milky, organic or not, and never just plain, except for when I'm drinking really good Japanese green tea, which I only buy at the Asian food market. Green tea is for special occasions. Give me black tea, and lots of it every day, at any time of the day, as long as there's milk and honey. Today I used something called "Choice Black Tea", but Pu-erh, Irish Breakfast, Yorkshire Gold, and PG Tips are my favorites. I like Twinnings in a bind. It reminds me of the Ellingboe Norigarn (family cottage) in New Harbor, Maine.

So I like my tea strong, dark, sweet, and milky. As I said, I don't generally do with this high quality Japanese green tea, but I even put milk and honey in the Chinese green tea that comes in the cool tins from the Asian food market. While I like my tea sweet, I don't like to mask the natural bitterness. At home I'm very particular about how long I steep my tea. I steep pu-erh for at least 10 minutes (until it's murky and black), PG Tips, Yorkshire Gold, and other English black teas sit for no more than 5. If I'm at a restaurant, I'd rather drink something else if they have crappy tea. This doesn't mean I drink something else. I'm a little addicted to tea, and I'm too hooked to be a tea snob. I can make bad tea taste good to me. Okay, I'm really addicted to tea. There are worse things to be hooked on. I like my addictions to be life-sustaining.

I don't drink coffee any more. I had my first cup at age six and gave it up for good when I was pregnant with Ingrid. I don't really miss it at this point. But I was the same way about preparing a cup in public. I liked my cream and honey in my coffee. You don't find this mentality with tea drinkers so much, but I had on more than one occasion, felt a scornful eye as I filled my cup with cream and counted to 5 or 10 while the honey flowed. I could almost hear people say, "Why didn't you just order a latte?" I ordered plenty of them. I ordered coffee and doctored it appropriately when I was short on cash.

But my coffee drinking days are long gone. Back to tea. I'll take it strong, dark, sweet, milky, a little bitter, always hot, nearly black, sometimes green, sometimes spicy, in a cup, from a pot, with a friend, caffeinated, often fermented, rarely herbal (but then mostly medicinally). And naturally I ask, what does this say about me? Draw your own conclusions, and I'll reveal later what I think.

But let's talk about you, gentle reader. Tell me how you like your tea. Don't like tea? Tell me how you like your coffee. Don't like coffee? Tell me how you like your favorite beverage which requires thoughtful preparation.

Off topic, I don't talk about Steal Away Jordan here anymore, but I had to share this great review with the lacquer box readers.

David Lanham Art

1 comment:

joshua said...

Chai, heavy on cloves and black pepper, sweetened with honey.

Man. I gotta make some now. And I don't have the parts.