When I first started drinking “real tea”, as in British tea and not the standard American stuff, my British flatmates asked how I liked mine.
“Plain please,” I answered.
“Right, we put milk in it, do you want sugar?”
And that is the moment my love affair with tea began.
It started with herbal tea; Twining’s Chamomile and Spearmint from Sainsbury’s in New Cross Gate in London in the year 2000. I was taught how to make a “proper cuppa” by my flatmates but I was afraid of becoming addicted to caffeine so I only had it occasionally.
When I stepped off the plane back in New Jersey that December, the day before my brother became a Bar Mitzvah, I was taken directly to “night before dinner” at a local restaurant.
“I’ll have a cup of tea please.”
It was gross. I put in an extra tea bag and the brew was still the color of slightly tan milk. I couldn’t drink it.
I first allowed myself to have an afternoon cuppa daily during the summer of 2002. I was working at my first job which, at that point in the college admission season, was mostly desk work. By the time afternoon rolled around I was exhausted. I started with American Twining’s Earl Gray tea. I’d add my tea bag to a cup and boil water in a hot pot. Then, one day, I brewed my tea and thought the teabag went off. It was so gross I couldn’t drink it. I spilled it out and started again. Turns out I just stopped enjoying Earl Gray.
The next big step in my tea journey was the day I allowed myself to start my day with caffeine. It was September of 2004 and my first day of teaching. I wanted to be at my best and o knew a relaxing cuppa was what I needed. And I never looked back.
I now drink at least two cups of PG Tips per day. Usually more like three or four. I’ve been experimenting with other types of tea but, just like when I have a cup of coffee, I feel like I’ve cheated on my regular brew and get anxious. (Apparently I think my tea has feelings. Then I drink the tea. Thinking about it this way makes me mildly uncomfortable.)
I start my mornings with a cuppa made on my night table in my teakettle alarm clock that finally made a version for the three Americans who desperately needed it. I have an electric kettle in the kitchen and two back ups in case one breaks. I have a battery powered one. I carry extra tea bags in my wallet so I’ll never be without.
What this boils down to is:
- I overthink EVERYTHING, tea is no exception.
- If you ever want a cuppa I’m your lady!
PS I’ve made the executive decision that I will be starting my day with not one but TWO cups of tea and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.