The Tea Party

My brother and his girlfriend invited me over for dinner yesterday. He has a pretty cool tea set.

Tea time

It’s something of a ritual. After dinner each night he prepares some tea, usually a chamomile or green, and drinks it out of this Asian tea set. Last night we had some asian black tea.

Maybe it’s clear right now that I don’t really know much about tea, but I’m trying Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.

We sat at the table and continued conversation.

“You know, this is something you have in common with 7-year old girls.”

teaparty

And the Mad Hatter.

There’s always a ritual. Some people grind their coffee beans first thing in the morning, because that’s how they’re freshest, and they take specific measurements.1 Some people’s ritual is to go to Starbucks and get a venti.

For years my tea ritual was more similar to making a Hot Pocket than a pot of tea; microwave water, dip bag in water, wait a few minutes to remove bag, drink it and maybe stick my pinky out and pretend I’m sophisticated. These days I prepare loose leaves, but not in nearly as nice a set up as my brother’s.

My coffee ritual remains the same; zombie self gets out of bed, puts a bunch of water and grounds in some contraption, and destroys the black liquid with milk and sugar so I can drink candy instead of coffee.2

Some rituals show signs of thoughtfulness. I suppose there’s a lesson to be learned in them.


  1. Marco Arment details his coffee setup. Stretta’s relationship with tea is similar. 

  2. This was part of my motivation to switching to tea in the morning. I can appreciate tea without cream and sugar, but drinking plain black coffee makes me wonder if I even really like coffee—I’m pretty sure I don’t. I also put the Keurig away. 

The Endless Battle Between Coffee and Tea

Coffee People: Coffee’s good for you.
Tea People: No, tea’s better for you!
Coffee People: No – you’re wrong!
Tea People: No – YOU’RE WRONG!
Coffee People: No – YOU!
Me: Gentlemen please! I’ll drink both of you!

Both are probably ok, but take out sugar and cream and tea wins for me.

I don’t remember the link, but on Reddit there was a post about somebody trying to adopt a new diet, but wanting something sweet. He asked what people drank besides water to satisfy sweet tooths.

Responses were something like, “No, you’re doing it wrong. Just drink water.”

I don’t think he liked that response.

Christopher Hitchens On Making Tea

Just after World War II, during a period of acute food rationing in England, George Orwell wrote an article on the making of a decent cup of tea that insisted on the observing of 11 different “golden” rules. Some of these (always use Indian or Ceylonese—i.e., Sri Lankan—tea; make tea only in small quantities; avoid silverware pots) may be considered optional or outmoded. But the essential ones are easily committed to memory, and they are simple to put into practice.

Credentials? He’s from England–ever hear of England?