13 July 2009

time for tea

Assam is my comfort tea. I brew a pot and add milk to my mug, and when I drink it, I am transported back in time, to the days when I worked in a British import store and tea room. When business was slow, we'd make a cuppa in the kitchen and stand around in passageway between the kitchen and the storeroom, drinking tea and chatting. We usually drank PG Tips or Yorkshire Gold, but Assam tastes very similar. I liked tea before I worked there, but after that, I loved tea. I spent most of my tips from the tea room on British tea and chocolate bars.

When I moved to Canada, I was delighted to discover that I could buy Aero bars from the grocery store or vending machines here. Canadians stare at me in astonishment when I say that you can't get Aero bars in the States unless you go to a specialty store. Oh, and the tea, too. I could find most of the British teas I'd come to love.

My taste in tea developed and changed. I now drink a wider variety of teas. Oolong is a carefully rationed out favourite (good oolong is more expensive than good black or green tea), and pu'er is the one that I drink the most of during the winter. It keeps me awake on the nights I need to stay up late to finish a paper, and is savoured in the early mornings when I need to wake up. The smoky, smooth, slightly sweet flavour pairs nicely with milk or cream. Green tea is what I drink when I want to sip slowly and contemplate life. Green tea and poetry go well together. I often drink herbal tea to avoid taking medicine. Ginger tea settles an upset stomach; red clover is a blood-cleanser (I really should have some of that at least once a week, but I forget; it's great when I've had a little too much to drink, too); rose hips help headaches and colds (all that vitamin C). When I want to read fanciful fairy tales, I turn to a blend called 'Amelie' from a tea shop down in Bellingham. It's an Earl Grey with rose petals and lavender.

Still, when I want to feel reassured, strengthened, by the tea I drink, I usually find myself drinking Assam, with milk. Sometimes sugar. Today, for instance. I don't know what it is. I just feel a little...off. I've been mulling over a few things in my mind, which are turning into a short story that will hopefully deal with them. "Write it out and get rid of it" is what I'm aiming for. Not a story for anyone else to read. Just one for me, in lieu of journaling about it. So, to that end, I'm drinking Assam. And also thinking about a cardigan with owls. I have some ribbon with owls on it that would look nice on a brown cardigan. Perhaps that sweater I frogged should be an owl cardigan instead of the vest I was thinking of. Anway. Maybe I should get back to work on the story.

I need another cup of tea.

1 comment:

  1. wow--what a tea education! all i ever drink is what i suppose would be called cold-brewed chamomile tea. i put tea bags in a pitcher of water, place the pitcher in fridge, remove tea bags in the morning, and drink the tea all day. i'd imagine that sounds very boring to you. thanks for your post. there are so many teas i'd like to try now.


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