I’ll admit it. I’m a confirmed tea drinker. While I love the smell of coffee and even enjoy chocolate coated coffee beans, I rarely drink coffee. Frankly, I can’t stand the stuff but until recently I forced myself to drink it when in a café. But things are changing and about time too! Café owners would never consider giving a coffee drinker a cup of instant coffee and charging the earth for it, so why did tea drinkers have to put up with teabags in their teapots for so long? Okay, end of rant.
But now many different teas are appearing on the menu and there’s not a teabag in sight. And for lovers of frothed milk, nothing beats a Chai Latte (and I am not a lover of sweet tea but there’s just something about those spices that makes this one a winner.)
Today I sat down with a cup of tea to check my emails and found a link to a survey on tea drinking. Naturally I opened it and was reminded again of why I enjoy a good cuppa.
Before I go any further I’ll share the best way to make a cup of tea. Here and here have good instructions. But there are several critical steps in making a good cup of tea that must not be forgotten if you really want to get the most enjoyment out of your cuppa:
1. Use fresh water.
2. Don’t over brew the tea unless you like the stewed taste.
3. Use china cups. I know some say that tea tastes like tea whatever you drink it from but I disagree. There's nothing like tea from a china cup.
4. If you’ve only ever used tea bags it’s time to try real tea. I admit that tea bags are convenient and I use them the majority of the time, but really, there is nothing like a cup of tea made in a pot with tea leaves.
So why drink tea? Well firstly, because it tastes good. Secondly, it contains no calories on its own (of course, adding milk or sugar will change that but on its own it has zilch calories). Thirdly, ongoing research suggests that drinking several cups of tea a day may offer significant health benefits. This is because of the presence of powerful antioxidants called flavonoids, which can reduce cardio-vascular diseases, prevent cancer and improve your immune system. Tea also contains a number of vitamins and minerals and is a source of fluoride. Drinking black tea has also been found to prevent dental plaque formation and kill bacteria that infect the teeth. Next, tea relieves stress. And if you really can't stand to drink tea (are there such people?), cold tea bags or leaves (wrapped in cotton or muslin) can soothe tired eyes. Lastly, tea has been enjoyed by millions of people for generations.
While there's tea there's hope. - Sir Arthur Pinero
There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage. - Catherine Douzel
[I am a] hardened and shameless tea drinker, who has for twenty years diluted his meals only with the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the evening. - Samuel Johnson
...For tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities, or are to become so from wine-drinking, and are not susceptible of influence from so refined a stimulant, will always be the favoured beverage of the intellectual... - Thomas De Quincey
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa around,
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in - William Cowper
We had a kettle, we let it leak;
Our not replacing it made it worse,
We haven't had any tea for a week...
The bottom is out of the Universe! - Rudyard Kipling
So what are you waiting for? Boil that kettle and make yourself a cup of tea and sit back and enjoy.