Tea-lightful, Tea-licious!

Tea-lightful, Tea-licious!

Tea. A beverage that is synonymous with Britain and images of quaint cafes offering cakes on doily-covered plates, to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace, in front of a portrait of the Queen.

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Unlike its brash cousin, coffee, that seems relentless in its world domination of morning pick-me-ups, tea has a history of lengthy rituals and strict rules that are often more important than the ultimate consumption.

And I’m just not talking about ceremonies originating from Japan and China. Pot or cup? Mug or cup? Ceramic or China? Lemon or milk? Milk first or last? Bag or loose? Brew time, water temperature…the list goes on!

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Yes, I know there will be coffee connoisseurs out there that will tell me there are similar things to note to enjoy the best coffee. But I have no interest in the bitterness of the black stuff and live by the rule that nothing is quite as bad after a cuppa!

However, despite drinking tea for more than three decades, I’m rather green when it comes to venturing into the more unusual blends.

My preferred type is a bog-standard, teabag blend of black tea, served with milk and honey. I’ve enjoyed green tea and some herbal varieties over the years but always return to my trusty brew.

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Until this year. After visiting a gorgeous vintage cafe and discovering Mayan Chocolate Truffle Tea (a spicy, yet smooth, chocolatey infused delight) I started to research more flavours and equipment.

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For my birthday, I received a glass teapot, (apparently better for the more delicate varieties, such as white, oolong and green) branched out with various types of black tea, (from Darjeeling and Bombay Chai to ones infused with tones of orange, vanilla and mint), started drinking camomile before bed and fell in love with flowering teas!

These cute little bundles of tea leaves are expertly wrapped together with flowers like jasmine, chrysanthemum and hibiscus, then dried out. The result, when popped in hot water, is magical!

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It takes around three minutes for them to slowly unfurl into an unusual floral creation, as the water becomes flavoured with their ingredients.

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Some of them were a little too perfumed for my taste-buds but I was still mesmerised with watching what it would turn out like. I also managed to keep the one of the blooms for a few days, with the pot doubling as a vase. Didn’t do too well drying it out though!

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There are many more I want to test out but that’s my little journey of tea enlightenment so far! Are you a tea drinker? Are there any you can recommend to add to my list? Let me know in the comments… but be warned – you’ll not convert me to a cappuccino!


Image Credits: My own plus Pinterest and Antique Alive.

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16 thoughts on “Tea-lightful, Tea-licious!

  1. One cup of coffee only for me. The rest of the time tea. English Breakfast first thing, in a baby Emma Bridgewater mug. The rest of the time a china cup and saucer with a selection of Earl Grey, Lady Grey, and many and varied fruit teas. Rutland Tea company selections on occasion, Vitasia Chinese flowering tea blossoms once in a while. I’m an Englishman after all! Great post Haylee.

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  2. I loved this post. I am an out and out American Anglophile, derived from my love of books. I first visited England when I was 21 years old, not a confirmed American coffee drinker yet, and so I fell in love with tea, served a way I had never experienced— with milk and sugar. I loved the 4pm ritual of the tea and cakes. Then, over the years, watching tons of British tv and films, I was always perplexed by the wife saying, “I will get your tea”. You just explained it!! “Tea” can mean dinner. I still drink coffee though, because that is what we do here. “Going out for coffee” is more than just the coffee, just as “I will get you tea” after someone’s wife is murdered is more than the tea. (I don’t think I worded the phrase right. How do you say it when you offer tea?)

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    1. Haha, it sounds like you’ve been watching a few Miss. Marple mysteries if people are serving tea after murders! That does seem to be a very British thing though – we always think tragedy is made slightly more bearable by consuming a lot a tea. So in that case ‘I’ll get you tea’ will mean the drink.
      But it could mean food, although we would probably say “I’ll get tea on” or “I’ll start tea” for a meal. Glad you enjoyed reading the tea leaves! πŸ˜‰

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  3. I can appreciate the artistry and tradition of tea ceremonies; there is grace and peacefulness in ritual. I find that in the bean-grinding, measuring, pouring, and aroma-therapeutic nature of my coffee ritual, lol. I rarely drink tea, but when I do, I brew something that has a spicy infusion like ginger, clove, or cinnamon. Black teas are okay, but even though I let the leaves steep for six minutes, it tastes more like hot water to me than something fortifying. Any drink that requires milk and honey for flavor, or to cut its natural bitterness, doesn’t seem to me to be worth consuming. πŸ˜‰

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    1. Sam feels the same way about tea, thinks it tastes and looks like dishwater! (He’s full-on coffee drinker).
      Don’t knock tea until you’ve had it milky with honey – I used to have 3 spoonfuls in a mug when I was younger, it would turn the tea grey. That’s how I knew it was a good cuppa! I imagine that image has completely put you off!

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      1. Lol! I used to take care of a little girl who liked honey-milk — a bit of honey in warm milk. I tried it — too sweet for my taste. I actually drank tea with milk and honey when I was in London for four days several years ago because I understood that’s the way many Brits drink it, but it was like drinking Hannah’s honey-milk. I love strong, black coffee, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also drink it with milk (but no sweetener) to smooth it out a bit if I feel at all edgy. The coffee flavor still comes through mightily!

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  4. I love this Tea Post, Haylee….I won’t try to convert you to coffee…but I am certainly a Coffee in the Morning and Tea at Night connoisseur. While traveling in China, we had the Flower Tea that you write about…sorry, but it was gross…it was rather thick and looked like swamp water complete with water lilies. I do enjoy Chinese Black Tea…straight up…poured from a pot into little cups. I have a burning question about the English Tea Time…is it really at 4PM and if so, what is the typical British work schedule…here in the US it’s 9-5…no time for afternoon tea…and if it is at 4, does Tea replace dinner? Inquiring Minds want to Know. πŸ™‚

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    1. Eugh, that doesn’t sound pleasant at all!
      Haha… no we generally work 9-5 but afternoon tea is something we indulge in as a treat, rather than a necessity. So dinner, for most would still be somewhere between 5.30 and 8 pm.
      But then there’s the regional dialect variations : I’m from Yorkshire so lunch is named dinner, and dinner is named tea! (Plus the drink, we like to confuse!!)
      Not sure if you saw this post of mine, but it may explain the reasons behind it a little better.
      https://aloadabobbins.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/tea-is-coming-am-i-too-northern-for-this/

      Glad you enjoyed the post though Jeanne πŸ™‚

      Like

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