Friday, January 14, 2011

A Spot of Cheer - in a Gray Week

I finally got to BelAir (a regional grocery chain here in the area) to buy some tea.  I was down to my last box, and that is a serious matter around the Young household.  It has been rainy, foggy, and generally dreary here in Northern California for weeks and nothing perks me up quite like a cup of good tea.
The clerk looked at the three boxes of loose leaf tea I had placed on the checkout counter (the only items I was purchasing, so they were more noticeable I suppose) and then gave me a quizzical look.

"These are not tea bags?  Is that right?"

"Right", I replied.  "They are loose leaf tea."

She smiled a little and said, "I like tea.  But I have never used loose leaf.  What is the difference?"

"Do you like coffee?",  I asked her.  She nodded that she did.

"Do you prefer instant or brewed?"

"I prefer brewed."

Then I smiled and explained, "For a real tea drinker, the difference in flavor between loose leaf tea and a tea bag, is like the difference between instant coffee and brewed coffee."

"But how do you ... you know ... what do you put or use...?"

"Strain it?  You can use a stainless steel tea ball, or a strainer of almost any kind."

She smiled again, and said, "I think I am going to try some."
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This exchange took all of perhaps 20 seconds as she rang up my purchase.  What I didn't tell her, as she was working, and I had not been asked to do an instant tea seminar (no pun intended) was that there is a little more to it than just that.

Okay, I'll admit it.  I am a bit of a tea aficionado (or may just a plain old tea-snob).  But it takes more than a box of leaves and a tea strainer to produce a truly excellent cup of brewed tea.  First, you need a decent tea kettle.  Preferably stainless steel, with a copper bottom.  It won't rust and it won't insert unwanted flavors into the brew. 

Next you will need good water.  If your tap water is chlorinated, then you will want to filter it,  or at the very least boil it to remove any chemical taint to the flavor.

Then you will need a decent tea pot.  It does not have to be fancy.  For years I had an old brown tea pot that brewed wonderful tea, but I would rather not use it for tea with a friend.  For that you want a beautiful tea pot.  I have about 25 or so.  Many are gifts from friends over the years who know that I collect tea pots.
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It may seem like a lot of bother for a silly cup of tea, but honestly, I know of few things better, to cheer up a dreary day that a well-brewed cup of tea.  (I'm not saying there is anything wrong with tea bags.  It is just that they are not .... well, you knew I was not going to be able to resist it, didn't you ... not my cup of tea.)  

It does, however, take a little patience and the right equipment, if you really want the best results.  Life is like that.
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We are, of course, an instant and throw-away society.  We all know this.  We get rid of things at an enormous rate of consumption and we seem to treasure little.

Even though we are in the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression (they are now calling it the Great Recession) few of this generation can relate to an axiom that was popular during that dire time:
                            Eat it up, wear it out
                            Make it do, do without.
Frugality went out of fashion with the hoola-hoop and the Edsel.

Nevertheless, patience and the right equipment are still needed in our lives today, perhaps more than ever.

I Corinthians 13:4 - Love is patient, love is kind ...
I Thessalonians 5:14 -  ... help the weak, be patient with everyone...

Hebrews 13:21 - ...our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep equip you with everything good for doing his will ...

II Timothy 3:17 - that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Friends, if we want to create good results in our lives, if we want to brew up good relationships, and pour out works with God's approval on them, then that is going to require patience and the right equipment.
So, until next time, please take care of yourself, be kind to someone, and may God bless you. ...Marsha                                         


  1. I don't know what an Edsel is! I suppose that makes your point, heh?

    So funny that we both wrote about tea today. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree - although I don't have quite the same aversion for teabags. :)

  2. D.J. - Yep, two peas in a pod! Or two teas in a pot. :) Remember that wonderful tea room in Pasadena?