Ahhh! There’s almost nothing better than that first cup of tea of the day that has nothing to do with the caffeine content. Now, admittedly, I’m not a coffee drinker, so I can’t compare the two (I can only get along with coffee when it’s ridiculously weak – think 4% coffee – and full of chocolate or in cake, with walnuts), but unless I have that first cup of tea, quite honestly, I’d rather not leave my bed. I’m just not terribly human until I’ve drunk my tea, especially if I have been woken, rather than waking naturally. Like Gerda, in fact, although I don’t think I could cope with cake first thing.
I didn’t start drinking tea until I left school, and I’ve never been much of a milk-drinker, so I’ve never been what I might call a ‘traditional tea-drinker’. I think I started drinking green tea, in any case, because I read something which prejudiced me against the Earl Grey which was the preferred tea in my home: I forget which book it was, but it was a children’s story, and it described Earl Grey as being like perfume, or something. And even now, I do find that it has something of an acquired taste, despite having periods when I drank it because I kept forgetting to get other varieties.
I think it is probably quite indicative of my Britishness that when I moved abroad for a year, one of the things which I considered necessary for the journey, and settling in, was a box of tea bags. I wanted to be able to have a cuppa as soon as I arrived. It’s a stressful business, is moving countries. Especially when the country in question is a coffee-drinking nation, not a tea-drinking one, and , as I discovered, one which has…interesting…teas.
On the other hand, my current tea is one to which I was introduced while abroad: Rooibus, or Red Bush tea, with vanilla. I like trying new teas, especially as so few are actually disgusting. I was given a really wonderful thing last year for Advent. Someone had come up with a brilliant idea for an Advent calendar: Advent teas, with a different tea for each day of Advent. There were black teas, green teas, strong teas, weak teas, herbal teas, fruit teas and other teas which I’ve now forgotten.
But the best thing about tea is Afternoon Tea. I think this is a wonderful idea, even if it is just a tea-break with tea and biscuits. The idea of stopping half way through the afternoon in order to have a cup of tea, preferably brewed in a china teapot, and served in cups with matching saucers, and a light snack is just fantastic. And okay, the matching tea-set isn’t really all that necessary (tea tastes just as good from a mug – and you get more tea in a mug) but it’s a nice idea. Which biscuit do you like with your tea? Mine’s a custard cream…