Monday, January 12, 2015

How do you take your tea?

Sunrise, Sunday, January 11, 2015
Sunrise, Sunday, January 11, 2015

When I was growing up in the rural South, iced tea was a staple in our house, served at every meal except breakfast. My father never drank it, but the rest of us did.
And it wasn’t only a summertime drink. We drank it year-round.
Most of relatives did the same.
If you wanted a hot drink, you were served coffee. I don’t remember ever drinking hot tea.
I remember many a Sunday afternoon at my maternal grandmother’s house, my aunts gathered around the kitchen table drinking coffee and gossiping.
And when some of my uncles visited our house, the kitchen would soon be full of the aroma of percolating coffee and cigarette smoke.
As a child, I liked the look of adults leisurely drinking their coffee, cup after cup. I wanted to be grown up, too. My mother would put half coffee and half milk in a cup for me, and I’d sip it as if I, too, was part of the kitchen conversations.
I didn’t get much coffee though. My mother said it would make me ugly. I think it was a variation of the warning that for young people drinking coffee, it would “stunt your growth.”

I didn’t drink much coffee, and never hot tea, until I was 22 and started graduate school. I had to find a way to stay up late or all night to study, and I found coffee and hot tea gave me the caffeine I needed.
For hot tea, I would buy the Lipton tea used for iced tea. I had no idea of the different kinds of tea available.
Then I became friends with D, a woman from Calcutta, who introduced me to Indian tea. She would bring a supply back with her when she visited India.
With D, I learned that there were other kinds of tea besides Lipton iced tea bags. And I learned about the companionship that can go along with sharing a cup of tea with someone, something that I never quite got with coffee.

Fast forward many years, and Larry gave me a Keurig one Christmas. We started experimenting with different coffees, trying to find one that wasn’t too strong, too weak, too bitter, too anything.
I usually drink my coffee—and tea—without any addition of cream, sugar, or honey. But if a new kind of coffee we tried was especially bitter, I’d add some creamer.
One cup was usually all I could drink. It bothered my stomach. And frankly, the coffee smelled better than it tasted.
Larry had never liked coffee, but he drank cup after cup over the years, trying to like it.
“Why do you drink it if you don’t like it?” I’d ask.
“Because I’m supposed to like it,” he said. “I’m getting older, and don’t old people drink coffee?”
I couldn’t shake his shaky logic. I knew that he thought he needed to like coffee to fit in with the coffee drinkers of the world.

I finally decided to call it quits on trying to like coffee. Oh, I enjoy an occasional cup. But hot tea is more palatable for me and Larry. Why not drink what we enjoy more?

And I love the ritual of sitting by myself with a hot cup of tea, sipping and thinking and being ….. quiet.

I decided that I would learn more about tea this year. I drink more of a variety nowadays, but I don’t know the differences in leaves, in how it’s made, about all the ways that you can make a better cup of tea.

I have a pretty teapot, but the Keurig is convenient. I’ll be using it and the teapot and even just boiling water poured into a cup. I’m excited about what I’ll learn.

***When I told you my word for 2015 is “Quiet” I didn’t mean to be quite so quiet in the blogging world. I’m sorry for my absence last week. Life happened: Larry has been sick with a bad cold/sinus infection, I’ve been busy with work, etc. I hope to be around to visit you soon.***

What about you? Do you like drinking hot tea? What’s your favorite kind? How do you make it?


  1. Pretty sky shots! I like coffee and tea and use a keurig sometimes.. The green tea with mint is one of my favorites.. In the morning I must have the coffee.. I hope your hubby is feeling better now.. Have a happy day!

  2. I am a plain jane, tea girl. Lipton only and I carry tea bags in my purse. no milk, just sugar and plenty of it!!!!! I never developed a taste for coffee itself but I do like coffee flavored deserts and ice cream.

    gorgeous sky shots!! nice to see you again!!!!

  3. I hope larry is feeling better!!!!

  4. I hope Larry feels better soon.
    I love the smell of coffee, but don't drink it except the lattes from Starbucks.

    When I drink tea, I tend to add flavored stevia as a sweetener, but no cream.

  5. hope larry's getting better! i have been drinking coffee since i was a little girl. i can drink it black, but prefer a spot of milk in it to take the edge of bitterness off. :) just plain folger's is good for me. no starbucks or fancy stuff. i like iced tea with sweet and low on the rare occasion i'm out for barbecue. i like hot tea in the winter time. i have learned to do organic tea bags, though, since tea leaves are never rinsed after harvest and often have a lot of chemical residue from pesticides on them. just a tip. :)

  6. I adore tea in all it's incarnations – black, green, red, white, herbal, hot, cold. I drink it black, with milk or half-and-half or cream, honey or sugar or agave nectar or stevia, depending on the type of type, the time of day and the mood I'm in. I have tea pots, a stainless steel tea kettle and a cordless tea kettle (which I love). I even love tea "foods" - biscuits, scones, etc. :-) I love the smell of coffee, and I like coffee-flavored ice cream and lattes, but not coffee on a day-to-day basis. My husband loves tea, but doesn't care for the flavor of coffee at all.

    I love the culture of tea (if that's the right word)...enjoying tea socially, alone, etc. Tea shops are fun, and the nicest birthday thing my friends did for me was when they gave me a "birthday tea" last year. :-)

    I hope Larry feels better soon! Here's a blog you might enjoy:

  7. I loooove tea. LOVE TEA. I've drank it since I was a teenager. And i completely agree with Larry's logic - Greg and I have a coffee maker and coffee but we're not big coffee drinkers. We think we should and so we try (and try) but honestly, it never pans out longterm. I always have to add sugar, milk (or cream) and vanilla to coffee to make it tasty for me. I do like a frappucino though.

    As for tea, just a spoon of sugar is all I need for black and peppermint tea, other teas I drink straight.

    Get well soon, Larry!

  8. I drink hot tea sometimes but honey, I am from Alabama, and it's iced tea morning, noon and night!! Love the stuff, the sweeter the better but after having some tummy problems I am now mostly gluten-free (which doesn't involve tea) and cutting drastically my sugar and carb intake. Now, if I could just learn to like tea without sugar. That is sacreligious !!

  9. I will drink tea if it is offered to me but in the morning I like my one cup of coffee. There is something so comforting about that first sip....

    Hope you husband feels better soon.

  10. Enjoyable post :). I don't drink coffee or tea, and do sometimes feel like a social outcast. But as you say, why drink something you don't like? Hope Larry is feeling better.

  11. Oh I get that about feeling like I SHOULD like coffee! I just don't. No matter how much I try. I like tea so much better. There is just so much variety.

    I hope Larry is feeling better.

  12. I've never liked coffee. In fact, one time I had to drink it to be polite in Japan and I don't think anyone could have taken tinier sips! It's a pity because I do love the way it smells! I'm a tea girl, all the way, hot or cold!

  13. I like tea...good old strong black tea. Aboriginals used to boi;l tea on the trail. that was good stuff. And I do like my coffee. I'm a bit of an addict. good to see you back.

  14. I love ice tea, but not hot tea. I save that for and strong!

  15. Even though I am from the south, I've never had iced tea (I dare not say that in public, for fear of being shot). I have really learned to love hot tea though since my wife loves it so :)

  16. I like tea, but I haven't been drinking it much. I like several kinds including green and peppermint. I'd drink coffee too with hot chocolate if I could get away with it...

  17. I know about the sweet tea drinking in the south; that's all we drank except like you said for breakfast. I never learned to drink coffee and didn't drink hot tea until I was grown. Now I drink hot tea and half and half (half sweet half unsweet) tea because sweet tea has so many calories....

  18. Been drinking hot black tea with milk and sugar since I was a wee lass and it's still my favorite :-)

  19. Beautiful photos of the sky. I can see an angel in the clouds. I used to drink coffee every morning but lost my taste for it. Now I have Lipton tea every morning and enjoy heating the water in my new glass teapot. My husband bought me a Verissimo espresso machine a few years ago. But it became so expensive to buy the little coffee and milk pods.

  20. My favourite tea is licorice root. I found it at a health food store. It tastes good hot or cold. I only like coffee if it's so full of sugar that it's bad for me :P I love the smell of it tho! As a former Mormon, i didn't start drinking coffee til way into my 40s, after i left the church. Until then, tho, Ocd ruled over this area of my life- only i did't know it. Herbal teas are allowed as a mormon, but b/c it had the word 'tea' i was confused, so just didn't drink that either. I would be concerned if i sat at a table with a coffee stain on it, in case i accidently ingested a bit by touching it and then touching my mouth with my finger.

    With the number of coffee drinkers around, i just assumed coffee tasted good, until i had my first sip! It tastes like someone burned water and is making me drink it. Unless, of course, it has so much sugar in it that it's unhealthy. Now it's funny to read all the comments on this post and realize that there are a lot of other people who also dislike coffee.


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