Friday, 13 September 2013

Hi, can I get a cuppa?

There is something rather civilized about the ritual of drinking tea in the UK.

My flat doesn't have internet yet, so I've been coming next door to a cafe and ordering a pot of tea each morning. It's a comfortable ritual, possibly the only one I have here. Walk in, order tea, sit down, fire up the laptop. A few minutes later the tea is placed on the table, and that's the true start to my day.

In the States, a cup of tea is delivered as just that - a cup of hot water with a tea bag steeping. Here, I'd be horrified if that's what I was given.

The first thing set down is the teapot. China, stoneware, glass - this is not the kind that's placed on the stove and warmed up. Hot water is poured into it, with tea leaves in a shallow strainer at the top. The cream is set down next, then the tea cup.

You can't rush the tea. It must steep, and you must sit. There is nothing you can do to rush it, swirling the pot will not help, the tea must have a chance to release its flavours into the water and take hold. Pour too early and all you'll have is tan water in a cup.

This is life here. Everything requires patience, a virtue I managed to misplace at some point along the course of my life. In fact, the word I've been taught here is not that the tea steeps - it plays. It takes its time and enjoys it.

I am frantic, I have a to do list, I am a tall cup of Americano, if not the buzz and clatter of a shot of espresso. And yet, morning after morning, I am here, smiling, waiting for my tea to play. 

2 comments:

  1. Sarah, I can officially say after a 3 month hiatus of not writing & trying to nurse a broken heart, you have inspired me to write again... Hopefully I can live up to the bar you've set for me :)
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't wait for a post from you to show up in my feed. Big hugs, hun

      Delete

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