Tea is just the best gift there is.
Now, I know some smartarse out there – male , of course – will say at this point “No, I’d rather be given a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 with its uncompromisingly crisp contours and 12-cylinder engine in bright yellow, thanks very much”.
But ask yourself this, buddy: When you wake up in the morning with a taste in your mouth like you’ve eaten curried rat, ear canals like a wind tunnel, the feeling that you’ve lost at least one limb and a non-functioning brain that seems one size too large for your head, is your first thought “A quick spin in a car designed to show the world how insecure I am about my tiny penis will do the trick.” ?
No, it’s bloody well not. It’s a croaking “tea……tea…..tea”
No coffee drinker can ever get this. Coffee slaps you in the face. By the time you get to the end of the first cup, you’re awake all right. And ready for questioning by Laurence Olivier’s character from the Marathon Man. It’s softened you up so that the day can crush you like a beer can on Chuck Norris’s forehead.
Tea works with you, gliding you towards a state of wakefulness that is calm and serene.
And let’s talk about the coffee in most households.
It takes a few minutes for an espresso machine to warm up. Grind some good coffee – for mornings something like a nice mild Maragogype or a little Mysore – get your milk steamed and voila – it’s lovely. A little skill and care and it’s a great experience.
That’s what should occur. Because no other form of coffee is good enough. Anyone who has spent more that 3 minutes conversing with me knows my feelings on the foetid, rancid, stomach-churning concept of teabags. But I’d rather have one every day for the rest of my life that take one sip of the pestilence known as “instant coffee”, which I gave up on a Friday morning in 1981.
Anyway, back to that first tea of the day. It set you up for the whole day. It is nature’s most marvellous gift.
Now, when I say tea is the best gift there is, I don’t mean a nice strong Harmutty and a playful little Keemun Mao Feng in a basket with some biscuits and wrapped in a bow (though feel free to send me any variation on that at any time).
I mean the love of tea.
And the time to give someone that gift is as a child. Children can pick up a habit in three minutes that will stay with them for life. That’s why the Jesuits say “give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”, though of course they don’t say it as often now since the world noticed the Vatican’s tacit condoning of child abuse.
So back to the children. Children should be given the Gift of Tea, The Gift of a Love of Tea.
I’ve been privileged enough to see some of the creative process behind a book “The World’s Special Tea” by Jo Johnson.
Jo, also known as @theGiftOfTea (as well as a few other monikers) has created a book that is essentially a look at the history of tea, in prose for children. It is designed to be presented at a tea party for children.
Imagine that. Kids love pageantry, ritual and ceremony, and Jo wants to give it to them,. She has the book, she has a blend of herbals to get around the ” you can’t give caffeine to kids” nonsense and she also runs, or is intending to run, such parties as a service in her local area.
Imagine that your kid goes to a party and comes back with a curiosity for tea. What a life changing experience!
And particularly, Beasts and Lady Beasts, we need to encourage small boys to attend. Hundreds of people will tell them that it’s OK to play football, beat up the nerd or jump their bike over gutters, but YOU need to give them permission to feel good about tea.
Not just because eventually they’ll wind up at sixteen as the only boy at a tea event with twenty girls who don’t get out much – as a former sixteen-year-old buy, I can attest that this is a coveted situation -but because the gift of tea will be with them once they’ve kicked their last football, flushed their last nerd and upgraded their bike to a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 with its uncompromisingly crisp contours and 12-cylinder engine in bright yellow or something similar, like a Toyota.
Then they can become MEN!
MEN who are PROUD to be TEA-DRINKERS. MEN who will SHOUT from the rooftops “I’M DRINKING THIS LAPSANG, AND THEREFORE HAVE THE COJONES OF AN OX”
So, for that reason: @AGiftOfTea, the Beasts of Brewdom SALUTE YOU ! Keep up the good work and help us to build the next generation of Beasts.
P.S> Oh, and thanks for the White Peony. Very delicate and delightful. Second steep was definitely the best.