|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?