Writing and Ruminating

Thoughts on writing, reading, and poetry. With the occasional diversion, bien sûr.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A cup of comfort

Tea is high on my list of things that are comforting. It is good whether one is celebrating something or seeking consolation, whether one is well or ill, whether it's a good day or a bad one. In fact, although I am not usually good at picking favorites in any category, next to a hug from my sweetheart, tea is the most comforting thing I can think of in this world.

It's small wonder that it has its own rituals in various countries of the world. And there's something very calming about the process of making tea, really. You have to put the kettle on to boil, then pour the water over the tea leaves (whether they are loose or in a bag, this part of the process is the same), and then you must exert a bit of patience and wait for the tea to steep the appropriate amount of time.

I know people who are extraordinarily anal and precise about the water temperature and the amount of time a particular type of tea must steep. (No lie - I know someone who sets timers for the tea, and the amount of time depends on the particular brand or type of tea in the cup. Assam tea is brewed for a different amount of time than, say, Earl Grey at her house.)

I am nowhere near as fussy as all that. I pour the water over the tea (usually a bag) and let it steep until it's what I consider about the right color, really. These days I've been drinking lots of Tetley, with honey and lemon added. But I have an entire cabinet shelf full of teas and tisanes, and sometimes I drink the other sorts. Some of them I like with sugar and milk, others with nothing at all. The one thing they have in common, besides being hot, is that they are all a source of comfort.

Here. Have a seat. Join me for a cup of tea.

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