Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Cup Of Tea

Yesterday, my flatmate and I, made mint tea from some mint we had been growing in the back yard. We let the leaves seep in scalding water and then flavored it with lots of Indian Sugar, Moroccan-style.

I've been sick for days with a terrific cough and have lost count of the precise number of cups of tea I've had since it started. Tea is a comfort. It cheers you up.

I love tea. Green tea seeped in a little jade-green Japanese pot in the morning. Black tea with with oriental cakes from a friend's business trip. Spicy chai (not strictly tea, I know) in the first fall days. Tea in Mom's kitchen with illicit slices of her famous carrot cake, that we're supposed to be saving for company. Tea flowers blooming in the water, like sea anemones. One solitary cup of Oolong, with a very expensive and intricate pastry on the side, in some foreign city. Camping tea, with it's smoky taste, brought to boil over the fire, and with a metallic tinge in the after-taste, left by the enamel mug.

The hardware too is lovely; from the first miniature tea-set, for serving the uppity dolls, to the japanese earthenware mugs and lovely blue and white English landscapes on mis-matching single saucers, rescued from thrift stores, one by one. Tall cups, small cups, floral cups, gilded cups, cups with patterns on the inside, cups with a single decisive stamp in the underside.

There is one thing I will surely take to America with me, in the time-honored tradition of all immigrant women: my grandmother's old teacups. My mom saved them for me, because no one else in the family cared for them. They are ornate, and awkward, and maybe even a little tacky. There is no sugar dish, no pot, no creamer, all lost to time and misplacement and gravity, just four cups and seven saucers, and a little bit of history too.


  1. Someone who loves tea as much as i do - i didn't think it was possible! Lovely post

  2. How wonderful that you have your grandmother's tea cups. Tea always seems such a nice connector of the past to the present. I sincerely wish I liked tea, but I'm afraid I can't stand hot drinks no matter the flavor. :(

  3. Why Princess Milla Two Shoes, I do believe this just might be the loveliest post in all the land! It’s so beautifully written…not to mention, it’s making me want to throw caution to the wind and go out, despite Lucas’ pleas, and thrift a glass case worth of glorious mis-matchy teacups and saucers for me to gaze upon in wonder as I sip my mug-full of English breakfast ;)

    You know it’s interesting, I tend to have very strong associations between different types of tea and associated places or situations. In the same way the scent of freshly mowed lawn will always take me back to rolling down the grassy hill at my grandfather’s house in Massachusetts or licorice to imaginary horseback riding through giant fennel plants as kids by the Russian River… Earl Gray takes me to my hammock under the Redwoods in Occidental, Green Tea with a hint of sesame to the amazing tea house in the Portland Chinese Gardens, regular old Lipton black tea takes me back to my days at the Marine Lab when work breaks with coworkers were spent chatting over a cup looking out at the foggy Pacific Ocean… maybe even spotting a whale or two on a clear day, and then there’s Chamomile… I drank boxes of it on our last trip to Mexico because I had a wicked cold for most of the trip and it’s my comfort tea. This was also the trip that Clover was conceived on. I even thought about naming her Chamomile because of it. In fact, I don’t think it was the tequila at all that resulted in her creation. I’m of the opinion that it was the tea ;)

    Hope you’re feeling better sweetie :)

  4. lovely lovely lovely! i'm moving back to the east coast for school and i wish i could bring all of my teacups and such! i figure i'll just have to find new ones [to me at least] at flea markets :) i'd love to have cabinets full of assorted antique teapots and teacups!

  5. The process of making tea is one of the great joys in life. Calming, concentrated, symbolic, ritualistic...perfect.

  6. Gorgeous post, Milla!
    I love tea too, the whole 'ceremony' of making it, smell at it and deep slowly drinking it. Just lovely...

    Of course, i really love the nicest teacups too, especially the very old and flowered ones!



  7. Imua on sinunkin blogissasi! Varmasti palaan!

  8. aw, this post made me think of my grandma! she collects tea cups and anything and everything with the image of a tea cup on it!

  9. tea truly is a perfect drink- and even fixes sniffles!
    i think your blog is very special- thanks for sharing;)

  10. actually - chai is usually made with black tea (such as darjeeling), and then some other spices like ginger and cardamom, so it actually is really tea. And, as you said, perfect for autumn :)

    we have a whole cupboard of tea at home, and there really is a perfect tea for any occasion :) what you drink it out of makes such a difference too - and to have something you know the history of... it connects you to something larger. Even if there aren't enough cups for the saucers :)