As you’ve seen from previous posts, I love tea. I also love coffee. Some of my earliest memories of my maternal grandparents is going up to their little apartment after a nap for ‘coffee’. I’m sure that coffee was more milk than true coffee, but it was the idea of sitting down and spending time with them that mattered. To this day, I prefer my coffee with milk or cream in it. Tea has been a mainstay since my teen years at least. Mom loved to plan tea parties. When we were in high school, she would often greet my sister and me after school with a cup of tea and some treat and we’d chat about our day with her.
My husband on the other hand is an avid tea drinker. Only after twenty-two years of marriage has he finally begun to realize he can add enough milk and sugar to make coffee palatable. So, many hours have been spent with him over a cup of tea. When our eighteen-year-old was in third grade or so, a tea house went into business in the town north of us. We tried the place out and fell in love. Our little third grader would ask to visit the “Tea Cozy” any time we were in town. When I had the funds or if it was just him and I, we’d go in and share a pot of tea. Several years ago, the middle three kids and I spent a week in San Francisco. As we visited Chinatown, I was with my eighteen- and twenty-year-old. We went into a tea shop. The gal invited us to sit down and try some of her tea. Realizing this was a cultural offer to share from her life to ours, we gladly accepted and sat across from her at a short counter while she poured us tea. At his first sip, the eighteen-year-old inhaled wrong. His subsequent exhale sent tea all over the counter and just barely missed our hostess! It was social blunder, that the hostess took in stride outwardly, but I often wondered what she thought afterward.
One year for Christmas, I found a recipe for Chai Tea. I created packets to give out to my family members. It was a simple recipe and the grounds for a conversation between Kyn and Shylah in Dragon’s Revenge.
Dismounting from Wylen, Kyn greeted her. “I see mint, and thyme. I am surprised they can grow in such wet a climate.”
Shylah didn’t even bother to turn. “They do, along with fennel, dill, and cardamom.” Turning, she now looked Kyn over with a discerning eye. “’Ow do you know yer ’erbs, rider?”
“I was trained by a healer and an herbalist to identify plants from dragonback—that would be the back of my drake. They also taught me how to blend the herbs to make compresses and teas.”
“Then you would appreciate learnin’ cardamom. It adds a nice flavor to tea, along with ginger and pepper.”
My second year in Ecuador, I had a friend suggest I use a plant and make a tea. At that time, I pushed away from the thought. Boil a bush and drink the water? I don’t think so! Was my response. Several years later, I realized that bush, the manzanita, was the same thing as chamomile! I should have listened. That was my first introduction to home remedies. Fourteen years ago, my midwife introduced me to plantain. I remembered it as a weed that I’d strip the seeds from as a kid. She showed me how to go out into my yard, pick some of the leaves, boil water, pour it over the leaves, add lemon juice and have a tea that was a natural antihistamine. Later, I learned to add my own home grown lemongrass, mint, rosemary, and thyme to the plantain and make a very tasty tisane.
Now, I enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning, or a cup of tea. Either one works fine for me. I use a little bit of brown sugar to sweeten it and some milk to color it, unless it’s Celestial Seasonings’ Tension Tamer or Stash Peppermint tea. Those are fine without sweetener or milk. What about you? Which do you prefer? Any special teas of choice?