Thank God for Tea!

Thank God for Tea

I was raised on tea. From early in life the day could be marked by two things : the call to prayer and tea time.

At home it was morning tea with breakfast and afternoon tea with Nice or Digestive biscuits. At school it was robust desi chai that made up for the terrible boarding school food.

No matter the day everything felt better after you had tea.

And then I had my own family.

Beginning in early fall, when twilight comes early and the golden glow of autumn colors our world, we begin to have evening tea time.

Just like growing up, tea is a ritual that marks the day.

Around 9 pm, whoever is in the house at the time gathers and we drink tea out of sturdy mugs. It could be Earl Grey tea with its oil of bergamot distinctive flavor. It could be mint tea. It could be regular– which for us means a strong Irish Breakfast tea. It could be a fruity passion tea. No matter the kind it’s tea and we are gathered together.

The day could have held sorrow or joy, tears or anger, frustration or impatience — or perhaps all of those things. We still gather for tea.

And so I love this picture, taken at our cottage in Rockport. And I love the quote on the picture as well. Because something remarkable happens when you sit down for a cup of tea.

Thanks so much for being a part of Communicating Across Boundaries and today may you have the joy of drinking tea.

Photo courtesy of Stefanie Sevim Gardner/Word art by Marilyn Gardner

29 thoughts on “Thank God for Tea!

  1. We had to move to Pakistan for me to learn to love tea, and to learn how to make it. I always regretted that my British born mother-in-law didn’t live long enough for me to make her a pot of tea the way she liked it. Sadly I am at a point where I can’t handle even the caffeine in tea, but finally discovered Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast tea. This is one of the few decaf teas that brews up a nice, strong pot of tea. Thanks Marilyn – Do you know anything about the Lady Holland who wrote the quote?

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    1. I want to look up Lady Holland because I can’t help thinking she is a relation to the Hollands that we know! I’ll keep you posted but I plan to look her up soon! And you are the one that introduced me to Irish Breakfast – I love it and don’t buy any other any more.

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  2. Tea makes a difference early in the morning, at noon, afternoon, and before bedtime. I grew up on tea and am truly thankful that America finally has “Teavana” where one can buy a bouquet of teas. Petra

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  3. I am a tea-drinker. Enjoyed your blog re the gathering of the family ’round for sharing tea. I used to be a tea-drinker many years ago, during my first marriage. My favorite was peppermint tea, and I used to brew it in a stainless steel tea diffuser. My brother-in-law used to tease me about it because every time my sister and he visited, I would always ask him if he would like a cup of peppermint tea. His preference was, and still is, coffee. After my second marriage, my husband and I would have coffee in the morning with breakfast. Tea was a thing of the past. Then, after my husband died, I took up tea again in the morning. My favorite is Earl Grey now.

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    1. I love peppermint tea as an after dinner drink. I’m convinced it soothes the stomach and the soul. But afternoon i love a good Earl Grey. To be honest – in the morning it is coffee for me. Somehow the way the caffeine works is different and I need the jolt! Thanks so much for coming by.

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      1. So nice to see that you like the same teas I like. Your reply made me consider perhaps taking up peppermint again. It is so refreshing. BTW, I use only decaf tea. I was so happy to find the decaf Earl Grey in my market recently, and I bought extra in case they run out of it again.

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  4. I did not know the joys of tea time (sometimes coffee) until moving overseas . . .and needing the caffeine. But now it’s more than just caffeine, it’s a way to unwind and reconnect with people, especially my husband. So I love this ode to tea!

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    1. So many people attest to this! I remember surgeons having their spot of tea during long surgeries – it made total sense. A time to revive and better care for their patient. It is a tremendous way of connecting and reconnecting!

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  5. We moved tot he UK when my children were 5 and 7 years old, and they have been tea drinkers ever since. I remember when we first returned home for a family visit and my son (then about 6) ordered tea with his breakfast. They served him weak Lipton. *shudder* Chris made a face and said, “Mom, something is WRONG with this tea…” I am glad America is catching on to proper tea! PG Tips and Yorkshire may be expensive there, but there is nothing like it when you fancy a nice, strong cup of builder’s tea to get your day started! :-) cheers!

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    1. Love the endorsement of PG Tips and Yorkshire. I will try them! And i totally agree about Liptons….it makes me shudder as well! I have a friend who puts 6 tea bags into a small teapot lets it steep for and age and then it’s real tea :) Thanks so much for coming by!

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    1. We definitely share a love of tea! Where were you raised? The reason I ask is it’s been rare for me to find people raised in the U.S who were raised on tea so I’d love to hear!

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  6. I love this quote, Marilyn! Especially since I spent last week steeped (!) in tea culture while staying with a dear friend who recently opened a tea store in Michigan. I learned so much about tea and even used it to bake while I was there. There is such comfort in a warm cup and even more when you get to drink it surrounded by dear ones.

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    1. I love love this!! I would love to hear what you learned. Will you be writing about it? I’ve heard of Green Tea muffins :) And yes – so much comfort! I’m hoping I get to see you while you’re here!

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  7. I’m glad for my children’s sake as well. We visit a lot of homes where they are served food that they have never eaten before and this is a challenge for my picky eater. But in every home, at least there is tea. Even if they can’t bring them selves to eat the food, (we’re still working on that), at least they can enthusiastically drink the tea.

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    1. I so agree with this. I think this must have been how my mum felt as well knowing that there would always be tea and usually bananas! Staples in the developing world.

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  8. I think of a quote from some book I read about the elaborate tea rituals among the Japanese. Apparently, in Japan, to say that a person was an uncultured barbarian, you might say literally that “he/she has no tea in them.”

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  9. Your post made me wonder if there was a time before tea…Wikipedia answered that question. I’m glad I wasn’t born before tea either! I’m brewing up a cup just now. Tea soothes and somehow satisfies the soul.

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  10. same in Kenya. My spouse Beth went to Kenya for the summer fifty years ago. The previous summer she had spent in U.K. and there she learned the joys of “tea.” In the American South, “tea” is assumed to be iced tea (and sweetened, in the olden days). We went to Kenya in August (2 weeks) and again February (4 weeks) and daily enjoyed “mixed” tea – also we used to be served Chai with milk and sugar. Now milk is optional (we do take hot milk or mixed) and sugar is optional (we do not take). Too bad at home we do not take the time together to enjoy the tea. My spouse does – and enjoys (I hope) solo.

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    1. Love this mini ode to tea and the ways you drink it! There is something so almost sacred about taking the time out for tea. Would love to hear more about your time in Kenya. My sister-in-law grew up in Kenya and I went to school with several others who were raised in Kenya.

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