Thirteen: Tea

Thirteen: Tea, originally uploaded by meganknight.

I think I can safely say that at least ninety percent of the days in my life so far have begun with a cup of tea. Real tea, camellia sinensis assamica, fermented, brewed with boiling water and served in a cup with cow’s milk and possibly sugar.

I was raised on tea – from my earliest childhood I remember drinking tea (albeit weak and milky tea with lots of sugar). My mother used to make mugs of tea for everyone in the family every morning, a ritual solid as sunrise, even when she was ill. After she died, my father tried to keep this up, but it soon petered out. Nevertheless, I was old enough to make my own tea, and did. Tea every morning. Probably no breakfast, but definitely tea.

As a teenager, I discovered coffee, and for a few years as a student, I drank coffee in the mornings, like a good North American. I still love coffee, but waking up requires tea. When I went back to Africa, I was back in the land of tea, and returned to it, as to mother’s milk. Sweet milky tea, in east Africa, boiled in a big enamel kettle with tinned milk and sugar and served in enamel cups too hot to hold, served in fine china cups-and-saucers in fancy hotels, mugs of tea made over fires, plastic cups of tea served with the bag still in on trains and in bus stations, tea is everywhere.

This is just a plain old mug of tea, Dilmah Gold Breakfast tea made from teabags (on this occasion – we also have loose tea to hand) brewed for a good five minutes in one of the seven or so teapots we have, kept warm with my handmade tea cosy, milk poured in first, then the tea. Made for me by Martin, and served in one of our new mugs we bought for Christmas this year.

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