Monday, December 27, 2010

Ode To Tea


We have a slight obsession with tea in our house.


(And coffee too, but that story’s for another day.)

Deborah is to blame for this one. I’ve always been a tea drinker, but being friends with her over the last 5 years has influenced my tea drinking. After she came back from living in France for 2 years, I remember it being July and her coming in from the 100+ degree Texas heat and asking if any of us wanted a cup of tea. She has this theory about hot tea making you cooler when you are hot. It still sounds crazy to me.

When cold weather comes around though, I drink tons of tea. My school is laid out like motel, so that the classrooms open up to the outdoors, so when I’m at work, I get cold really easily. The door is opening and closing all day with kids going to the bathroom, coming in from the office, us going to P.E., lunch, on and on. Yes, I realize I live in Texas- we’re lucky if we get 2 snows a year- and that there are places that it gets much colder than here. But there is something about Texas cold (maybe it’s the humidity?) that chills you to the bone. And that kind of cold can only be fixed from the inside out. So I keep a 2-minute-boil water kettle in my classroom and drink tea all day long.

But not just any tea.

I adore Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea.


Words cannot describe, my friends. I could try, but there are no words for how satisfying it is. During the winter I get to the point that I go through 5 travel mugs of it a day. (That would put me at going through the mondo box of 40 bags every 2 weeks or so. Yikes….just realized that…) It’s warm, slightly sweet, earthy, and…well, read their description….it’s better.



Deb and I have had many a conversation about how the cup makes the tea. The type of cup you drink out of is a big decision….it depends greatly on a number of factors. Big mugs like the one (which I got from Serendipity in New York this summer!) are for book reading, movies, or times when you want a lot of tea.


Mugs like the tall one above are for when you want to keep it hot for a really long time, so that you can make it, go do something, and have it still be hot when you come back. Or if you want to drink it slowly and have it stay warm for a long time.


Mugs like this one are for if you are in a rush, need to drink it fast, or if you want to drink it immediately. The wider mouth helps it cool faster. Deb can drink it when it’s fresh and boiling off the stove, but I always need to let it set for about 10 minutes and cool off a bit. Mugs like this are good because they allow the liquid to cool faster. If I’m wanting to drink right away and not have to wait as long for it to cool, this is the cup I usually go with.

One of the top phrases you hear in our house is “do you want some tea?” as one of us puts the kettle on. Followed a few minutes later by “what kind of cup do you want?” as we prep the kettle, mugs, tea, etc.

Whatever the cup, here are my guidelines for making the perfect cup of tea:

1. The water must boil. Don’t be tempted to zap it in the microwave or put it in the kettle and take it off before it boils. Taking the water all the way up to boil will allow the tea to steep more flavor and steep more quickly.

2. The bag goes in the cup first. The boiling water should be poured over the tea bag. Don’t dunk the tea bag into the cup of boiling water. The first think the water should hit is the bag, not the mug.

3. Add extras last. Any sugar, milk, or lemon should be added and stirred in after you fully steep the tea.

Tea is healthy (I usually count it as drinking water if it’s caffeine free), it’s inexpensive, and it delicious. I usually find if I drink some after dinner it is a good evening appetite “shut down” signal for me that keeps me from snacking before bed. What’s not to love?

I’m sure you’re enjoying lots of warm beverages in this cold weather. (I’ve had 4 today! Yikes.) What’s your favorite tea?

Have something you adore? Leave a comment below, or email adoretoday at gmail dot com.

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