The Suitcase Lady


September 22, 2015, 8:23 pm

“What do you have against tea?” I asked my husband many years ago.

“It tastes like hot water and it’s weak,” was his immediate reply.

“You mean it’s not coffee,” I countered, and we both laughed. I found his answer to be analogous to saying, “I don’t like apples because they are not pears.”

But my spouse’s  decades long aversion to tea has one very positive aspect. If I offer him tea when he is sick and it’s accepted, I know it’s time to take him to the emergency room.

I am an ardent lover of good coffee, but also an admirer of tea. Tea soothes, calms and relaxes. A fragrant cup of herbal tea accompanies me to bed every night. And I would never decline an invitation to a tea party.

Tea is steeped in more than tea leaves; it is also steeped in tradition. The Japanese elevated the making of tea to a fine art. Consider this passage from The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura :

The tea ceremony was an improvised drama whose plot was woven about the tea, the flowers and the paintings. Not a color to disturb the tone of the room, not a sound to mar the rhythm of things, not a word to break the unity of the surroundings, all movements to be performed simply and naturally…

The British afternoon tea is another version of ritual. Time is set aside to enjoy the company of friends or family, manners are paramount, lovely dishes are used and a delightful array of small treats are indulged in.

Almost every afternoon my husband and I have “tea time”. Because of my spouse’s tea phobia, coffee fills in for the tea. It’s the quiet break in the day that matters.



4 Comments for this entry

  • eve

    I have a book called The Spirit of Tea.
    Very nice.

  • Jen

    I am with Daddy. I associate tea with being ill. But I’m up for a coffee break!

  • Daniel Rathbun on Facebook

    I’m not going to go count, but I think I have at least 10 loose teas and 10 bagged teas in my kitchen. It is my drink of choice. I love tea.
    Gunpowder Green has been my morning staple for about 8 years.

  • Susan L Smith

    Having been raised by a tea ( as well as coffee ) drinking mother I truly appreciate your blog. She loved a cup of coffee at breakfast, and a cup of tea in the evening. Personally coffee never did excite me (unless it was filled with all kinds of ingredients to disguise the taste ).

    Having spent a couple of years going to 4 pm tea’s in England was truly one of the highlights of my stay there. Learned to like a little cream & sugar in my tea, and especially the scones with cream & jam that went with the tea. It made for leisurely evenings with charming people and witty conversation. Have to say that is sincerely missed. Remarkable what a hospitable cup of tea can do.

    Thank you for bringing to mind why a cup of tea is a priority in my daily routine.