A couple of days ago Jill Weatherholt inquired as to just exactly what gets me going; coffee, tea… It’s tea, without question or even a moment’s hesitation I’ve been drinking English tea since 1997. I will never stop.
But of course, it’s not that simple. Without English tea, I don’t know how I would manage writing, or much else. Tea is the lifeblood, the Mother Country, what gets my brain in gear, one of the reasons for getting out of bed too. I literally cannot fathom my morning without a milky cuppa, ahem, or more, at my left hand.
Tea represents the link to my Mr. Coffee childhood, a ten-cup pot brewing every morning for my parents. I tried coffee as a kid, had to add so much milk and sugar, what was the point? (My weekly latte in Los Gatos must have one sugar.) As a teen, I didn’t like iced tea, never chased a caffeine rush with Mountain Dew. Not until I was in my early thirties did I realize (and become slave to) a molecule that indeed stirs the blood, hastens the heartbeat. But it arrived in the gentle, calming guise of a cuppa.
Have a cuppa tea, as Ray Davies sings; it does cure a multitude of ailments. I first tried tea at a little cafe, sugar added. But soon I weaned myself to just a splash of milk, and I have never gone back. It needs to be HOT, or at least very warm. I can swig a cool latte, but that’s due to the sugar. Luke-warm tea, ick. Thank goodness for microwaves.
And it has to be English tea. Yes, I’m a snob; I prefer Taylor’s of Harrogate loose leaf teas, Yorkshire Gold as well. For bagged tea, Typhoo is lovely. Barry’s Gold, an Irish brand, is great too. I’m not fond of PG Tips, but it will do in a pinch. Recently we found the delicious Punjana, at Big Lots of all places! The best place in Silicon Valley to buy English tea is Cross Winds Grocery, along the Palo Alto/Mountain View border, but Cost Plus import stores are handy too. Living in Yorkshire, we had easy access to Bettys Cafes; I used to buy my teas from their shop, as loose leaf is really the best way to brew tea.
One of the things I miss most about Britain is buying tea. Marks & Spencers always had lovely blends, their St. Michaels brand another top choice. I was spoiled, oh my goodness, so very spoiled.
But life in California continues, as does the writing, as long as I have the morning cuppa. I drink decaf after lunchtime, and sometimes a cup of Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger is nice too. But the real deal is Yorkshire Gold, South African Kwazulu, English Breakfast, Blue Sapphire, Assam, Ceylon. But no Earl Gray.
My husband and Jean-Luc Picard might love Bergamot, but not me.