Tea and me

My better-half’s family is made of rabid coffee drinkers.  Any hot beverage that is not coffee is scowled upon.

My family comprises hot beverage drinkers.  We drink any beverage, even water, if it is hot and sweet enough.  While my better-half’s family has no rules on when to drink said coffee, mine does.  Wake up to two doses of coffee in an hour’s interval.  Have a tumbler-full of strong, milky, sweet tea post siesta.  Either coffee or tea with the evening tiffin and at night, anyone less than 40 years of age had to drink hot milk, sweetened with sugar or sugar candy, and often spiced with turmeric, saffron and/or pepper.

Tea is special to my family.  When I was a young girl, and the extended family met at the ancestral house for some occasion or the other, the afternoon tea time was party time.  Large cauldrons of tea would be made and consumed amidst unruly ruckus of my relatives. My aunt still makes the best tea, whether or not she adds ginger, lemongrass or cardamom to it. Not surprisingly, while I don’t dislike coffee, given a choice between coffee and tea, I go for tea, thanks to my aunt.

I tried converting the better half to the tea religion, but until now, I have been largely unsuccessful.  Of course, the reason is that I make horrible tea, even if I say so myself.   Finally disgusted with my own inability to make tea worthy of my aunt, I googled “how to make good English tea” and landed on a write up by George Orwell on eleven ways to make the perfect tea.  What do you know?  My favorite beverage recipe by my favorite writer.  My day was made.  He even places “Indian” tea ahead of the “Chinese”. Take that, Chinese tea!

I don’t have a tea pot. I don’t have a kettle.  Still, I made do with the utensils I had and followed the instructions as closely as I could – except the last step of not adding sugar, nope, that one does not have gobblefunkist written on it.  Brought water to full boil, added two spoons of tea leaves to it, switched off the flame, closed the vessel and let sit for two minutes while I heated the milk.  Strained the tea decoction, added milk and two spoons of sugar, stirred it with a warmed spoon and as I took my first sip of the hot, sweet beverage, I was, for a split second, transported to thirty five years ago, to my grandfather’s house in Triplicane, where my parents, aunts and uncles sat in a circle, playing cards and being largely rowdy while my cousin and I sat in a corner, oblivious to the adult noise, but gossiping about our school friends, all of us sipping my aunt’s tea and feeling its aroma fill inside us with the joy of togetherness.

And no, I am still unable to convert the better half.  The kid, I am glad to say, has travelled my way.  My aunt would be so happy.

 

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14 thoughts on “Tea and me

  1. Laksh

    Interesting what you say. My FIL worked for Brooke Bond all his life and he swears by making the tea decoction, boiling milk separately and then making tea. I did find it tastes better.

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    1. gobblefunkist Post author

      Yes, making them separately and then putting them together makes tea taste much better – I always do it that way. What I learned today was WHEN to add the tea leaves – always add it to boiling water and switch off the stove to let it stay for a couple of minutes. Yumm.

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  2. Carol

    I choose coffee upon waking, hot tea during the day in cold weather. I am an unsophisticated tea maker, however – 1 bag in a small teapot with a couple cups of water, into the microwave for 2-1/2 minutes, let steep a bit. So uncouth, I know, but it works for me.

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    1. gobblefunkist Post author

      Oh, I can’t drink milk-less tea. The only milkiness tea I can tolerate are Earl Grey and Chamomile..the latter not really containing tea at all. Way too much Brit influence in my family from Colonial times.

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  3. Maha

    A bit proud of myself – after much trial and error I learnt that I should not let the water boil with the tea leaves for long. I like my tea the way I make it – with ginger, mint and cardamom. My husband doesn’t like ginger or mint in it. Too bad, I am the one making it, so it’s my way or highway!

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  4. Pingback: Sharing my world | Gobblefunk Words

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