Monday, June 26, 2006

A Mug Of Hot Steaming Tea

There are moments, events, in life that are so personal and intimate that they cannot be shared by others. Romancing our Best Beloved, for instance; there are no books to guide you, because each of you bring your own selves and emotions into the mix, as well as the way you choose to be romantic. It's nobody's business and you don't even try to instruct others in a how-to way.

How you relax in the evening is another personal choice which others are invited to keep their noses out of. You like doing this or that; fine. Just don't push it on me. Respect my choice of enjoyment as I do yours.

But, perhaps more intimate than either of these examples, is the making of one's mug of tea. It is a sacred ritual open to no other. It is the Consecration, the birth of a new life, the maiden voyage of a marvelous new ship. It is the ultimate confecting of the beverage which brings forth cheer and merriment, the liquid which excites the muse of thought and contemplation, the very spirit of contentment.

How do I bring forth this genie of all that is good? These are my immutable rules. Should even one be lacking, I will choose one of any inferior hydrating fluids.

1) Prepare hot, boiling water and a mug. Not a wussy tea cup, but a solid mug, as thick as possible. Thick mugs take more time to warm up and, therefore, longer to cool down.
2) Fill the mug at least halfway with boiling water. Allow it to heat until it is too hot to touch. Dispose of the water.
3) Pour boiling water over the tea bag. If the bag has a hole, as in Lipton's, carefully open it up and lay sideways in the mug so the poured water goes into the center of the bag as you begin pouring.
4) Place another mug on top of yours, to keep the heat in and prevent the steam (hot air) from escaping.
5) After a few minutes, remove the tea bag and squish it with the bag's envelope.
6) Add one teaspoon of sugar and two of milk. Milk binds the tannin so it will not do your innards any harm.

7) Sip slowly as you contemplate the Mysteries Of The Universe.


Anonymous ruthc said...

Step 4's a new one on me (and I like the idea); otherwise, you've got the rest of it right.

June 26, 2006 4:30 PM  
Blogger Reading Reader said...

A long time ago, in an elementary school now turned into an apartment building, a teacher once told his class that if one were to put milk in tea, one would create poison, as it was the mixture tanners would use to cure their hides. EGADS! I love my sweet milky tea. Wonder if teacher got his hide tanned?

June 27, 2006 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Helen said...

Ohhhh, you KNOW how to make it! One of my biggest complaints when eating out at restaurants is the way they make tea. Pour "pretty hot" water into a thin metal carafe. Bring to table eventually. Go back to kitchen and bring out coffee cup with tea bag. Serve with non-dairy coffee creamer and maybe a lemon slice. These days, when I eat out, I will usually either forego the tea, or if I really NEED that cuppa, have them at least pour the water over the bag in the cup, and bring me a very small glass of milk. Many wait persons look at me as if I've grown an extra head.

When I make tea at home, I follow your instructions to a ... okay, I follow them exactly. Except for, as ruthc said, step 4, which really does sound like a great idea, and I may incorporate it into my own tea-making ritual.

There really are few things better than a perfect cup of tea.

June 29, 2006 10:02 AM  
Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

Tea,eh? Hmmmmmmmm. Tea is not my cup, however it brings back memories of when there were teaballs and my mom would visit a friend and the pot would come out and the teaball would by anchored in there by a chain. The finished product always seemed to look like rusty water. I tasted it in 1946 and at my tender age found it very bitter. My second cup was in 1954 out of the curiosity of the mind of a had not changed.

How tea drinkers can seem so content with a fancy ''tasse'' or a mug on which is written ''Saginaw''is beyond me.

Now coffee...well now after standing mid-watches on the bridge, the blacker, stronger itwas, the better.Cowboys made good coffee, often boosted by ashes. Back in WWII, they would use shaving mugs, as like Tom said, they are thicker and hold heat. Later on some genius invented the handle for these cups.

The famous ''spoon test'' which is used to test the strength of the coffee, and any liquid for that matter works like this. You stick a spoon in your cup and ding it on the side. The higher the ding note, the less the density and hence the weaker the beverage. The lower the note, the more the density and the stronger the drink. Extreme example: Ding a cup of water and the nding a cup of molasses.

There is tannic acid in both tea and coffee, adding weight to Reading Reader's curing of hides. Now we used to take the rest of a pot of coffee, or tea, preferably after it hadspent the night, and slosh it on the floor. There is no other cleaning agent which can match this trick.

Josh, the ''high altitude bean lover''.

Tom, do cruise ships stock up on extra tea when you are sailing?

June 30, 2006 9:08 PM  
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