Thursday, April 02, 2015

Slow Evolution of a Tea Drinker

I was born for coffee. My Danish Grandmother gave it to me as a treat whenever I'd spend time at her house, laced with lots of cream and plenty of sugar. It made me feel so grown up! By the time I was 16, I was drinking it regularly.

When I became engaged to my future husband, there was one little snag. He didn't drink coffee! My Dad fixed that, encouraging him to replace his daily Pepsi with java. Perhaps he just wanted to fit into the family, but he learned to enjoy it and I've been spoiled for decades because my guy has turned out to be one great barista. He even travels with his coffee grinder!

Tea? Not so much. Oh, I'd try it from time to time, choosing herbal blends from the grocery shelf with exotic names ---but the chemistry just wasn't there.

Until. . . one day I dropped by my friend Michelle's house. Michelle and her family had spent half a dozen years living in England, and were bonafide tea drinkers. Michelle wasn't home that day, but her sweet teenage daughter offered me a proper cup of tea and I accepted. With cream and sugar, thank you.

Oh my! THIS was heavenly! What was it?

"P.G. Tips," was the reply. Only I misunderstood her; I thought she said, "Peachy Tips." I looked high and low for this brand whenever I went shopping, to no avail.

A few weeks later, I took my daughters  to a little cafe that served tea. When I perused the menu, I saw clearly my mistake; it was P.G.Tips, not Peachy tips! I ordered a cup and yes! it was just as good as the first one.

From then on, I kept P.G. Tips in my cupboard for a rainy day. I'm not quite sure why I preferred it over coffee on rainy days; perhaps I subconsciously associated it with England's drizzly weather. There is something gentle about a cup of tea, as opposed to the boldness of coffee. When I steep a solitary cup, it  evokes the feeling of relaxation and quiet contemplation, but when prepared for company it oils the internal conversational mechanism.

My evolution to tea took a giant leap forward when I discovered a local specialty shop that carries dozens of exotic, loose leaf blends. Cherry Blossom. Pomegranate. Black tea with rose petals. Orange rooibos heavy with spice. What a delight to the senses!

When my hands encircle a steaming and fragrant cup of tea, I'm encompassing a realm of pleasure both ancient and new. Such is the joy of living; discovering new things that link us to ancient traditions. It makes me think of the old adage,

"Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea."

This is the elegant tea cup my daughter gave me for my birthday.