I have always felt that tea is one of those things that deserves a ritual surrounding it, even if it is very simple. Maybe this comes from the traditions of tea which include Japanese Tea Ceremonies and British High Teas. For whatever reason, I’ve always felt that tea was a little more elevated than many other drinks.
Yes you can grab a cup of tea at coffee houses with very little fanfare, but I love places that give tea that little something extra and don’t just hand you a cup of hot water and a tea bag. Personally, I have a little routine, or ritual if you will, when I make a cup of tea at home. It’s very simple and not a huge production, it’s just how I make tea and how I enjoy it.
My tea ritual starts with heating the water. I used to use a traditional tea kettle on the stove but have switched to an electric kettle in recent years. The electric kettle is so much faster and doesn’t involve the annoying steam whistle when it’s done. While the water is heating I prepare my cup, which usually means just putting the bag in (or strainer ball if I’m using loose tea). There are a few flavors that I like sweetened, so I will put sugar or honey in the bottom of the cup for those. For special occasions, I will add a cinnamon stick or peppermint stick as well.
When the water is ready, I pour the water into the cup and let it steep while I grab a boot and a throw or pillow to curl up and read. Sometimes I will grab a sweet treat to accompany my tea, but this doesn’t always happen. If I am enjoying a treat, I really like lemon or shortbread cookies with tea. I rarely eat them at any other time, just while enjoying a cup of tea.
Once my tea is done steeping, I’ll squeeze the bag and remove it, the give it a quick stir (especially if sweetened, but I stir even when it’s not), the curl up with my designated book. I’ll let the tea cool for maybe a minute, then sip it slowly. Because I don’t like the flavor of cold teas (no iced tea for me), I will generally finish my tea in about 10-15 minutes. I usually remain in my little reading cocoon for a while longer, nice and relaxed once I finish my tea.
This concludes my little ode to tea series, though I’ll be talking about two of my other favorite hot drinks next week…
Do you have any rituals you enjoy while drinking tea? Or any other drink?