Friday, 18 February 2011

I like a nice cup of tea...

I love tea. I love coffee too, but I love tea more.  I love the strong, malty flavour of tea and I drink, cups upon cups.I like my tea in a thick mug, not the thin china ones normally used, and the bigger the cup the better. I can usually tell if I've over done it as my teeth go a stained yellowy colour, which quickly comes off with a quick brush. No one can make a cup of tea like me or my ma. And I never order a pot of tea in a restaurant or a cafe, or at a friends home...that's always coffee.

My ma introduced us all to tea when we were kids. We'd come home from school and immediately through the door, Ma would put on the kettle and cut the bread for the toast.  It was always tea and toast after school.  Thick slices of toast, topped with a slice of butter (yummy) and finished off with a dollop of homemade blackberry jam. I can see us all now, standing in the kitchen waiting for our cup of tea and slices of toast...the eldest first down to the youngest. The tea was sweet and milky...and hot! It didn't matter if it was summer or winter, it was nearly always the same.  Now and again, ma would substitute the jam for sandwich spread which I found absolutely disgusting.  Ma didn't use teabags, only fresh loose tea and when I was first married would only use loose tea too and a teapot.

I would visit Kenya a lot and buy my fresh tea from the local market, thick leaves and a few stems thrown in, but it was divine.  A few years into our marriage, I discovered that teabags would save a bit of mess but I would still make it a teapot.  No one else could make my tea, and the mother-in-law wouldn't even attempt it.  BH tries sometimes, but I'm afraid I'm a bit of anal when it comes to my tea.  He either puts the milk in after, boils the kettle then allows it to sit, or doesn't let the tea brew long enough. I always know as it looks and tastes "not quite right".  It may seem stupid, but to me if it's not right, I won't drink it. If a wine is disgusting, would you drink it?  I really don't see the point. I know where the teas are from as they all have their own subtle tastes.  BH says I should be a tea taster...but I'd rather be a chocolate taster.

Always, when anyone visits ma they are immediately offered a cup of tea.  I do it too.  I add a coffee or a glass of wine as an after thought if they seem to hesitate. I have a vast array of teas. Earl grey, fruit teas, mint tea, ceylon, kenyan, green, assam, chai, and oolong tea.  A friend brought me some rosehip tea from Zanzibar. It's very different from the ones we get here and has a thick, sweet & sour taste and has a rich reddy pink colour. Its so precious to me that no-one dare use it.  Beautiful!

I've moved onto teabags for the ease, but not always as nice. You can see through the bags and it's mainly dust, which I think is a pretty poor show.  Sometimes the brand may "go off" despite buying another packet from another batch, so ma and I have a con flab and we decide which to buy next. Teas don't always remain the same, as their harvests are dependant on the weather or climate so we move from brand to brand. I'm not loyal to any brand, I'm just loyal to the taste.

It's funny that none of my offspring enjoy the taste of tea or coffee.  I tried when Bart was a baby.  I slipped a cup of tea into his bottle much to the disgust of BH.  I thought I'd see whether the "tea taste" was hereditary or an acquired taste.  It seems that it is an acquired one!  Finn likes the fluff off my cappuccino (so do I, so it's a bit of a fight!), but all of them gag at the thought of a cuppa. As they all like a glass of water, I'm happy that it's the strongest flavour they like!




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