Stuff and Things – Tea Things

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I’ve decided to pick up a project this week that I’ve mentioned before. A few seasons ago in my memoir workshop we wrote on the theme of stuff; our stuff. I thought that I would choose a few of my things that I’ve collected and write a little about them as a writing exercise.

Today, I’m starting with my tea things. These are a few of my favorite tea things

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Despite how it looks in the picture, I really don’t collect a lot of things related to tea. I picked those up at Cracker Barrel; they’re little salt shakers. The tin holds loose tea – Lady Londonderry. It’s wonderful with milk and sugar. For birthdays and Christmas, my friend and I exchange teas that we like so the other one can try them. This was one of those teas. I think I sent him Mexican Chocolate, which was a really lovely blend. We have a local store that has dozens of varieties and tea accessories, like that tin and my unpictured strainer.

The mug in the center is from a fundraiser at my kids’ school. The kids do artwork specifically for this project, and in the spring, parents can order their art on a variety of things. This particular one is from my daughter. I just loved how it was put together with the colors and the birds visiting the bird feeder, blue sky and sunshine. I feel happies when I have my morning tea and this is the mug that I use almost exclusively.

Drink.

Rinse.

Repeat.

I’ve just begun using that travel tumbler. I use it for both loose tea and bagged tea, and I’m always amazed when I pour the boiling water in that the cup doesn’t crack. It keeps it hot all morning when I’m at my workshop. It’s the perfect size for library and workshop writing.

For today’s project, and the picture, I’ve included only three varieties of tea that I love.

Stash’s Ginger Breakfast Black Tea was my first “exotic” tea that I really enjoyed. Most gingers are tisanes, no actual tea leaves in it, but herbals and other flowery “teas” steeped in hot water. I prefer a black tea. This is perfect with milk and sugar. I use the word exotic to distinguish between black and orange pekoe tea (the kind you would find in Lipton) and some of the more unusual varieties. Tea, coming from the Far East, is already exotic for want of a better word.

Prince of Wales is a black tea, but it’s a bit lighter than the typical tea that Americans tend to drink. This is similar to PG Tips and reminds me of the tea that I had when I visited Wales.

My new find is Twining’s Honeybush, Mandarin and Orange tea. At first glance it sounds like a tisane or herbal tea, but it is in fact, black tea. One of the reasons that I hadn’t often had citrus teas is because I put milk in all of my tea, not realizing that citrus isn’t really made for that. Once I stuck to sugar, this was a very relaxing cuppa. One of the surprises of this tea is that if you let it sit too long (which I am guilty of on occasion), and let it get cold, it still retains a very rich and flavorful taste.

Not pictured are PG Tips, Chai Spice, Moroccan Mint (black tea), and Scottish Breakfast. I tend to lean towards Stash and Twining’s if I’m not getting the teas from my friend or from my local tea shop.

Let me know in the comments what your favorite tea is or any other favorite drink.

Happy Tea-ing!

Monday’s Good for the Soul – Tea

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This morning’s tea makes yesterday distant.

~Author Unknown

Tea is one of those substances that has universal appeal. It is both balm and cure. It is both home and on holiday. It is therapeutic and spiritual. It carries the weight or the lightness of the moment. It is steeped in tradition and ritual.

When my friend died, several of us drank certain teas that she liked or that represented her, and we wrote about the experience. I wrote about her, and our complicated relationship, about my own feelings for the tea I was drinking that day, describing the flavors and sensations of the drink, and I experienced several spiritual mindfulness. It gave me an opportunity for discernment and was an integral part in my spiritual journey.

It might be idiosyncratic, but I have my own rituals around my morning tea. When my tea is dark enough, I add the milk (if it’s not a citrusy flavor) and two teaspoons of sugar. I remove the tea bag, turn out the kitchen lights, and go to my favorite chair. Before leaving the threshold of the kitchen, though I always take two sips of the hot tea through the steam. I don’t know why; I just do. Every time.

But tea is also simple in its simplicity. It’s part of my daily life a part of my sacred space. I eat with it. I write with it. I pray with it. It is rare to find something that fits in everywhere and anywhere, and tea is that rare something.

Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.

~Chinese Proverb

Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.

~Author Unknown

(This very strongly made me think of communion – the body and blood of Christ in the wafer and the wine.)