Time for Tea, Tea for Two

Coffee is my regular drink in the morning. Tea is what I have throughout the rest of the day if I am craving more caffeine. The coffee aroma is mostly bold, rich, and ‘invasive’ that I found irresistible. Tea is, to the contrary, calm and tranquil. Its fragrance is acquired through the making and serving. The refreshing effect is slowly carried on and lasts long.
Understated Aroma
Tea drinking originated in China more than 4000 years ago, and it was introduced to England 300 years ago. India was once a British colony and that’s when the Indians were first exposed to the tea and learned how to grow it.Tea grows better in warm climates such as southern China, India, and Ceylon. Chinese drink brewed tea straight, but the British tend to drink tea with milk and sugar. I believe most Americans drink Chinese tea with lemon and honey. It is just like drinking coffee with crème and sugar. Creme and sugar are intended to make coffee taste better, but they dilute the original flavor.

Tea for two

Besides, good tea usually comes in a can with dehydrated tea leaves. When the tea is brewed, large leaves remain in the tea kettle. Tea from tea bags is often made from ground loose tea leaves. They are as good as the whole leaves, but the flavor is not quite the same and the quality may not be as supreme. Nowadays, tea providers add dehydrated fruits and flower pieces to the tea for added flavor and enhanced visuals, in my opinion, it is more of a marketing strategy. But if you are after ambiance, drinking fruit tea from a personal glass teapot is actually quite enjoyable.

Thinking of tea, I think about friendship.  It is purely personal. I am more a coffee drinker than tea, but I am often given tea as gifts, particularly from my Taiwanese friends. Chinese tea is available at Asian stores here, but it is mostly not fresh and the quality is in no way close to what I had in Taiwan. Believe or not, in the last three decades, I have never bought any Chinese tea at the stores here, and I have never run out of the tea supply either.  I like almost all the tea cans and I kept most of them for other use.Having two cups of tea made for pictures, I missed my old friends and the good old days… Chinese has an old saying ‘Gentlemen’s friendship is as light as water.’ 君子之交淡如水. That means a friendship between men of virtue is light but effective. A true relationship is established on mutual respect and understanding. There is no jealousy involved;  It is not forceful and the relationship is not imposed upon each other. All is natural, all is simultaneous. That’s why it is as light as water.

Two for Tea

My memory tunnel goes back to my school days when the music recorder in our house was playing Doris Day’s ‘Tea for Two.

tea for two and two for tea, Just me for you and you for me. Nobody near us to see us or hear us, no friends or relations on weekend vacations…”

This song has been played in many movies and has always stuck in my mind. I actually used it for my ring tone for a few years till my phone was sunk in tub water. How I learned my lesson the hard way: Be smart. Don’t bring the smartphone into the restroom.

What a joy to enjoy a cup of authentic tea with an old friend in this environment? Tea is freshly brewed. The morning sun has just lightly touched the ground. It glowed on the tea kettle and illuminated the background. I found the scrips on Kim Klassen’s texture inspiring:
I lost my faith and you gave it back
You were my strength while I was weak
I am everything I am because you loved me
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
You gave me wings and made me fly 
Beauty is made for Tea

This is exactly what I am thinking about my friends and the many precious moments that I had enjoyed a nice cup of tea with them.

I don’t usually collect ‘trophies’ while traveling, but this mug is too beautiful to resist. The price tag of $15 for a mug is silly, but if you know coffee costs $5 minimum in Norway. This $15 isn’t too much overall.  But I brought it home and I put it up for display. Now I got it out for a picture and I will start to put it into use, and enjoy my morning coffee or afternoon tea. I need to increase its value by using it.
The other mug was bought for the man in my house. I thought he would not like the mug with flowers. So I got this one with Leaves and Grapes. Now I can say, they represent Tea and Wine. Oh, my goodness, it sounds like something I really need, a good afternoon nap.
One thing I noticed, the design and color of European ceramics are intense, vivid, and outspoken while those from the Chinese version are peaceful, subtle, and understated. Interesting, isn’t it?
Afternoon doze-off

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