Monday, March 19, 2012

A very British habit

Tea and it's accompanying ritual, I am beginning to see, can be a calming and relaxing way to unwind.  When I say making tea, I don't mean dunking a bag in a cup, I mean the loving ritual of warming a proper teapot, deciding which tea is going to be the most restorative, measuring it out, steeping it, pouring it and only then, savouring it - hopefully in a delicate bone china teacup.  When I was small, we always went to my Granny's for afternoon tea where each grandchild had their own china tea-cup and matching plate.  There were sandwiches and cakes and lots of chat.  My other grandparents were equally into their tea:  some of my clearest memories of them involve tea on their vicarage lawn - deckchairs, a silver cake tier, silver tea-pot and green teacups and plates.  There were always paste sandwiches and rockbuns - or in winter it was crumpets toasted on the fire.  Fastforward, and there's no doubt that today it's become a very 'in' pastime - I don't know how many weddings I've been to where 'tea' hasn't been a major attraction.
Heart-shaped tea-cups

The British have always been very into their tea; "fancy a cuppa?", "I'll put on a brew", "tea?".  I don't know many occasions where a cup of tea isn't offered, usually as a comfort, from the break-up of a relationship to the traditional wake.  However, recently, 'tea-time' is taking on a new level of chicness.  Tea at the Ritz was always meant to be special, but more and more people are using 'teas' to raise funds for charity; or hen do's begin with a 'tea-party' and families have them as celebrations instead of a drinks party.  I like it!  I like the look of a mish-mash of cups and saucers; the prettiness of the cakes and the 'sharing' that seems to be lacking when it's just a drinks do.

For the newcomer to the tea scene the choice of teas can be overwhelming - black teas, white teas, oolong teas, herbal, fruit infusions and then more choices within that type of tea!  For me, tho', it just has to be breakfast tea every time.  What's your favourite cuppa?

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried Lady Grey tea - the same fragrant notes but more quaffable. What a warm gesture or welcome - "would you like a cup of tea".