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Here in the South, tea is drunk cold and sweetened. And believe me, my southern brethren love them some sweet tea. If you're in a restaurant and you want a cup of tea, don't ask for "tea." It will come cold and sweet.

In Michigan, we called that iced tea. I remember my mom putting big jars of water with tea bags in them out in the sun to steep. I never developed a taste for it.

In India, little boys walk up and down the aisles of the trains, crying "chai, chai." Indians seem to always take their tea with milk, and usually sweetened. Indian cities are full of "chaiwallas," tea vendors. Chai means tea, so I always get a kick out of "chai tea," akin to the "La Brea Tar Pits" in Los Angeles. "Brea," in Spanish, means "tar."

Some years ago, I did some biking in Spain and France. I started from Avila. The evening of my arrival, I was sitting in a café, having a drink, when I overhead some Spaniards ordering something that sounded to me like "Nasty." I wondered what a 'nasty' was. It turns out they were drinking "Nestea."

Tea for me is a social thing, a pretext for meeting a friend to talk, for I'm not a tea drinker. I've tried, but the habit of drinking tea just hasn't stuck.

My favorite tea is Moroccan style: with mint and sugar, and served in a small glass. Perhaps, counterintuitively, hot-sweet-minty tea helps you keep cool in spite of the intense North African sun. I remember Lorton preparing on the beach, Mallorca, 1990.

My wife is a tea drinker. I would say she likes her tea about as much as I like my wine. She's from Darjeeling, and her dad worked in the tea business. Because of that, I visited a tea plantation in 1992 and learned all about how tea goes from the fields to the cup. I was surprised to learn that the processing of tea, even black tea, is very fast. There is no aging component.

I find it interesting that infusions are often referred to as "tea" even if there is no tea in them. In Argentina, Uruguay and probably Paraguay, "yerba mate" is an institution, and supposedly aids in digestion. WIth all the beef they eat, they probably need some aid. In Bolivia, you can get "te de coca," an infusion of coca leaves. This drink helped me adjust to the altitude of Potosí.

Most nations seem to clearly prefer one caffeinated beverage over another, either because it is produced there (China, Colombia) or for historical reasons having to do with colonialism (England).

USA: coffee
China: tea
Spain: coffee
England: tea
Colombia: coffee
Japan: tea
France: coffee
India: tea

It's a locus communis that you can get a window into people's souls by asking them if they prefer the Beatles or the Stones. Could the same be true for one's preference for coffee or for tea? While I dig an occasional Stones jam and a spot of tea, I'm basically a coffee & Beatles man. Cain't hep it.

Jim Dandy, in the beer thread, mentioned drinking a few PBRs in the afternoon, and then enjoying a pot of tea in the evening. I like to think of Jim, enjoying his tea with Cayo at his side.

The warmer for a tea pot is called a "cozy." How 'bout that?


I'm discontented with homes that I've rented
So I have invented my own.
Darling, this place is a lovely oasis
Where life's weary taste is unknown.

Far from the crowded city
Where flowers pretty caress the stream
Cozy to hide in, to live side by side in,
Don't let it apart in my dream.

Picture me, upon your knee,
Just tea for two
And two for tea.
Just me for you
And you for me alone.


T4 2 x 3

This is one of those synchronisticism story's.

I wish I would have read this blogging last Saturday as it was posted, because that very Saturday (around 4p.m.)I commented to my work partner that just that very morning I had heard the Tea For Two song in 2 separate movies in a row. (Grey Gardens, and Bronson)
Had I read this post that day it would have been (and still is I suppose) 3 references to that song in one day.

That is only weird to me I suppose.

November 2018



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