Value the Flavor and the Work - Tea
Today tea has both a symbolic and often healing affect; and has become a large part of some countries' history.
It originated somewhere in southeast Asia in northeast India, the North of Burma, the southwest of China and beautiful Tibet.
The wonders of travel and trade eventually introduced it to 52 countries and it was often adopted as both a tradition and a cure for uncountable ailments.
A Chinese legend states that the legendary Shennong, Emperor of China and also known as inventor of both agriculture and Chinese medicine, was enjoying a cup of boiled water when a handful of leaves from a tree were blown into his cup. They changed the color!
When the Emperor took a drink, he found it both flavorful and full of restorative properties.
Another version of the story says that he tested various herbs on himself for medical use and found tea an antidote for a lot of things.
Fact is that the Chinese have thousands of years of consuming tea as one of the favored drinks and medicines. They are considered to have the earliest records of drinking tea; dating back as far as the 10th century BC. A classical Chinese philosopher named Laozi from roughly 500-600 BC described it as "the froth of the liquid jade" and "indispensable ingredient to the elixir of life".
The Love for a well-flavored Drink
I grew up with Tee (aka tea) as part of my 'diet'. I remember this dream of all tea drinkers store in a town near my home. You would walk in the door and find ...hundreds of kinds of tea lining every wall from the floor to the ceiling!
The smell was breathtakingly beautiful and aromatic!
My Mom wasn't fond of perfumed teas (I guess black teas with flavors added) and I honestly favor those of dry fruits and never ending mixes of leaves. I remember some of the teas my Mom mixed. One of my favorite ones was 'Husten, Schnupfen, Heiserkeit' (Cough, Flu, Sore Throat). And it worked! Especially with honey!
I am a little picky about my tea, despite the fact they have become quite expensive. And I won't just throw any sugar or sweetener in it.
While I favor teas with honey or brown sugar (not all will taste right with either), I do have a few that just don't taste right with anything but white sugar (which is sweat and nothing else).
I do however will never ruin a good cup of tea with something as horrible as artificial sweeteners!
That stuff is just horrible!
I had always preferred fruit teas over anything else, but a coworker drinking gallons of green tea a day enlightened me. Green tea has a calming effect and comes in different mixes that also include fruit. And while it tastes somewhat alright out of bottles, there is nothing like a good cup of freshly tea via tea-bag when working on something like writing an article.
My favorite cup of tea is enjoyed sitting on my back porch; feet on the table, kids send of to their own entertainment, a few cats and dogs laying around me, looking at my beautiful pond!
And it doesn't have to be green tea to have a relaxing effect!
I think the most relaxing part of drinking any good 'drink' is appreciating the flavor and the work that went into it!
My Dad had three rules about alcohol:
- Don't ever drive drunk!
- Don't do anything you will regret!
- Don't drink it to get drunk; drink it to enjoy the taste!
Tea is the same thing! Yes, occasionally I do enjoy some iced tea. But to get my peace and quiet and that relaxing effect, I have to have a cup of freshly made tea.
Making it is another important part!
On busy days or when I am tired, I will just throw a cup with a tea-bag, some sugar and some water in the microwave and 1 min 30 sec later I have my cup of tea.
But if you really want to do it the right way, either use one of them fancy deals from all over the world or simply heat water on the stuff.
My Dad had his own little ceremony about tea. He would have the water heated on the stove, add his black tea to the cup with some sugar pieces in it (haven't found them in the U.S., but in Germany they sell them in brown and white; the brown one being tastier!), add the hot water and stir it with the little glass stir stick that came with his glass tea cup.
When the tea was the right color and flavor, the bag or tea-ball/egg (a metal 'egg' that is filled with lose tea and hangs on a chain into your cup) was removed. It was to make sure the tea wouldn't turn bitter or too strong. I tend to leave my tea-bag in it, but I always hated wasting that last bit of taste left in it. Sometimes I would even reuse them when the bag was more flavor than just one cup needed!
Many cultures have traditions and symbolic meanings for tea and tea ceremonies. For me it's simply a way to enjoy my day; or relax enough to make a day enjoyable!
If with or without friends, a good cup of tea can help you remember and appreciate the simple things in life. Like being able to have a good cup of tea; when others don't have that luxury! And how many people have worked hard so that you can enjoy that cup of tea!