The Joy of...Tea
This, the final "Joy of..." post, is about something that surely unites us all.
Yes, there might be the odd person who doesn't like it, but they clearly have a physiological malfunction (I know someone who actually doesn't like hot drinks).
Tea feels like a basic need of human life - it is like shelter, like healthcare, like food. Sometimes it can embody all three.
It transcends class or race, crosses continents and evolves like language. It feels like it can have the ability to soothe the deepest of wounds and ease the heaviest of burdens.
Tea is ancient and an intrinsic part of many countries' cultures - history, philosophy and the changing of the seasons can be held in a single cup (three billion of which are drunk around the world every day).
A cup of tea is also very personal - there can be few things as disappointing as a poorly-made one.
I need to have a large cup (preferably taller than it is wide) that you can grab with both hands to warm yourself - a vat to make the experience last as long as possible. I like it fairly strong but quite milky, biscuity in colour and without sugar. On the whole I have earl grey but actually something like Tetley has a slight orangey/bergamot flavour anyway. I also rather like mint tea - cleansing and fresh - though nothing will compare to the sweet nectar you get in Morocco.
A sip of a good chai latte too makes the world a better place.
Though I rarely make tea with a teapot (about 98% of the tea drunk is made with bags) when I do I tend to be a milk-in-first kinda guy. Rare now too is having a biscuit alongside (that pesky sugar) but I always dunk - Rich Teas are delicious but risky, chocolate digestives are excellent and surely you've tried that thing where you suck up tea through a Penguin?
Really good afternoon tea is also something everyone should try once and I've been lucky enough to go to Claridge's twice - expensive, yes, but worth every penny.
Alarmingly though, it appears that the future of tea is under threat. Climate change, water shortages and the low wages of those in the industry are starting to have an effect on the drink that without which, might seem to make things just that little bit harder. Harder to begin the morning; harder to unwind at night; harder to get through the in between.
We can measure our days by tea; our lives. It is special.