Friday, July 11, 2014

My Cup Of Tea

If you read my last post, you'll hopefully pardon these short and sweet entries, just covering a little piece of this hectic summertime.

This one is actually inspired Jessica over at The Ma Books, a bit of a must-read for every mom sick of all that glossy mothering blogs full of expensive baby things and toddler apparel. As for us non-mothers and child-free types, I personally love peeking into the lives of mothers and others, different from my own and this collective blog is a great place to do that.

Yesterday she published a post calling all readers to show off their finest mugs and tell the stories of their coffee habits.

Lucky for me, I already had this post lined up, because ever sense Andrea, another blog-friend posted about her coffee/ tea mug collection, years ago I'd thought it would be a fun thing to do.

I have a lot of coffee/ tea mugs. Small ones, big ones, ceramic ones, porcelain ones, hand-made ones mass-produced ones… Most of my cups and mugs were either secondhand finds, or made by friends with pottery skills and I love them all, maybe a little too much…

My current favorites are pictured above, including two in my budding collection of herbal themed cups and a cup from Mali that says "SIS" on the one side and "Simply Incredible Sister" on the other. So corny, so sweet…

We also use a lot of 70s-style "no spill" mugs, because none of our cars have upholders. A couple of years ago, a potter friend actually made me one, and I think if I had to pick it would be my ultimate favorite. But then it's so hard to choose...

The right beverage in the right mug really sets the day going nicely. Though I love coffee, I'm first an foremost a tea-drinker and in the course of an average day drink anywhere between four and ten cups of tea. Since I was a teenager I've always had a cup of green tea in the morning, a ritual much more important to me than having coffee ever was.

Throughout the day, I like to have Earl Grey with milk, or honey, because the delicious, pungent smell of black tea always makes reminds me of my aunt, and makes me feel calm and grown-up, and like I'm dabbling in something slightly decadent. Rooibos, oolong, mate, chamomile, nettle, tulsi…the list of teas, herbal and caffeinful, is endless. I also like mint tea for a little pick-me-up, although its effects are greatly lessened by coffee drinking.

Speaking of which: coffee, though delicious and ritualistic, isn't always good for everyone. In fact, I would say that it's one of the great legal addictive drugs of our culture. In my early twenties and in college, I suffered from a great deal of anxiety, nightmares, tight muscles, teeth grinding and it wasn't until my thirties that a massage practitioner friend pointed out that many sensitive people are extremely sensitive to caffeine. She had me quit all caffeine, including my daily fix of green tea and once my system was cleansed, I was really able to tell how sensitive I really am to caffeine and generally don't drink it on a regular basis. I kid you not, a cup of coffee most often makes me anxious and depressed in the afternoon, causes my shoulders and jaw tense up and gives me weird dreams.

This summer though, I've discovered that these effects are greatly mediated by the tiredness of the allergy season and am back on the coffee wagon, at least for a few months. One cup a day is plenty though. I prefer to take it with fresh goat milk, maple syrup and maybe a little bit of coconut oil.

Are you a tea drinker, or a coffee lover, or a little bit of both?


  1. Interesting thing about the coffee. I reduced my coffee intake to one or two mugs per day (with lots of milk). I also like black tea with milk. It resembles coffee ;)

  2. I've always hated coffee- even the smell makes me nauseous, making my once-upon-a-time daily train commutes into London an intolerable gauntlet of various nausea-inducing stimuli. I drink probably 6 big mugs of Lady Grey tea each day, with lots of milk and sugar. I mean white granulated sugar, the bad kind (though I take care to use sugar produced locally in Suffolk from sugar beet, not imported sugar made from sugar cane, which, even when fair-traded, has the unpleasant taste of colonial profiteering). But I feel excluded from a lot of cultural rituals by not being a coffee drinker. And then there's the necessary skill of making passable tea using a coffee maker when, well, anywhere outside the UK really.. and the 50% of your luggage allowance taken up by tea bags.. and the strange understanding of the concept of a "kettle" when, well, anywhere outside the UK really.. I tried to like coffee, world, I really did.

  3. I wrote a comment and then it disappeared.....oh dear. I am both, a lover of morning coffee and afternoon/evening tea. I am very picky as to cup size and how much milk - so much so that I always offer to make my own. I was making coffee for family adults before I was allowed to drink it, so there is always something illicit about it for me. Tea, is for comfort - blankets, to ward off the cold, just got in late at night and need to relax. oh yes, and before i forget, you look lovely in red and blue. x

  4. I like seeing all your mugs (I love the seagull one, I've said that before!). I got into the habit of using one mug for everything I drank after I lived with a guy who'd hoard mugs in his room, but I have a couple to choose from.

    Up until recently I always had a big mug of black coffee every morning, then mid-morning switched to herb tea or rooibois -- but I actually just gave coffee up a couple of months ago. It wasn't a Big Decision (I ran out of coffee and thought I'd see if I could give it up) but I've just realised I'd been drinking black coffee every morning for about twenty years, so I guess it's quite a change! I switched to black tea so I could get a caffeine fix, but I just don't like it first thing in the morning. So now I'm caffeine free, without having planned to be! Actually I think I do function better with a little bit of caffeine, although before I gave it up I never had it after 2pm. I didn't drink enough to get the jitters but cutting it down to only a morning intake definitely helped me cut down on insomnia attacks, and I do think some of that was anxiety related as much as caffeine.

    re: one of the comments above, the colonial history of tea was just as bloody as sugar cane, if you read anything on it. Lots of wars, lots of land grabs, lots of nasty stuff. That's why it's the drink most associated with British Empire.

  5. I love seeing your mug and your mugs! :) I think I might steal this idea for a post on my blog.

    I am a tea drinker. I have never liked the taste of coffee unless it's an ingredient in a desert. I love black tea, green tea, white tea, various herbal teas like mint and hibiscus and rosehips. I like the taste of rooibus, but I can't drink it, it makes my stomach hurt :(

    That honey bottle is pure sweet love. That's better than a plastic honey bear any day.

    My favorite teas are Keemun with honey and cream, and plain jasmine tea. I collect tea like some women collect shoes, though. I have an account on Steepster to keep them inventoried, and I currently have 48 teas listed there, and I have a couple random teas that aren't in the database there. Tea is like an adventure in a cup. Romanticized, yes, but still...

  6. Can I just say how adorable you are? I would love to learn how you pulled your hair up in that first photo - perfect for summer :)

    How fun to show all your favorite mugs - I lovelovelove the one with the sea gulls on it. I'm a big coffee and tea drinker, but lately have been trying to only have one cup, in the early morning. I love green tea and prefer it without any sweeteners or milk. My daughter loves tea as well and we always have a pot brewed and ready to enjoy!

  7. on ihana kerätä tee ja kahvi kuppeja. sinun ovat ihania! viimeaikoina kaikki kuppi ostokseni olen tehnyt kirppareilta tai Etsystä. käsintehdyt ovat ihania, mutta välillä tulee ostettua uusiakin, mutta nykyään harvemmin. tuntuu, että jokaiseen hetkeen on oma kuppinsa. tee on monesti ollut helpotus pahaanmieleen ja eri teelaaduista tulee muistoja mieleen. lempi teitäni on laventeli earl grey, pu ehr, yrttiteet mitä teen itse, tibet, yunnan, ruusu, metsä tee ( jota sekoitan itse)... rakastan teetä enemmän kuin kahvia, mutta jos juon kahvia pidän että se maistuu maanläheiseltä. ihania metsäisiä tee hetkiä Milla!

  8. I love tea - usually english breakfast with milk, sometimes green tea. I know what you mean about coffee and anxiety, but I still manage a store bought coffee or two at work a day. Mocha with marshmallows or flat white with sugar.

  9. I’ve always been a coffee drinker. Every time that I get a chance to go to the city, I have to get a cup of flat white, or a caramel macchiato or an icy spicy!
    When I’m at home, I drink it black most of the time. Except the day before yesterday (I made raw almond milk, and couldn’t resist to pour some of it on top of my coffee!).

    But when I was living in China, I really found a great interest in tea. I didn’t know that SO many varieties of tea could exist. And since then, I’m a bit obsessed, both with tea and tea cups/mugs.
    My all time favourite tea is oolong. But I also really liked pu’er.
    I also started a collection of mugs when I was there and it was really hard when I realised that I wouldn’t be able to bring them back with me.. But I managed to get this precious in m luggage

    Since I’m in Latvia, I discovered herbal teas, and I’m completely hooked since then! I’m learning more about foraging for my own plants and blending my teas. That’s a wonderful process!

  10. dang it! My comment disappeared :(

    Yes to coffee and tea although I drink coffee more often. I agree about the negative side effects. I've given up coffee several times and did notice a difference in my mood but...I always wind up going back to it. You have a great mug collection there! I especially like the one in the middle. Makes me want to do a post of my own :)

    Also, I can't fail to mention how adorable you look in these pictures. What a beauty you are! xoxoxo

  11. I cold brew coffee in the summer but try not to have it first thing in the morning. I am also one of those people who is extremely sensitive to coffee and if I start it too soon in the morning, then I am not as gentle with my loved ones as I like to be. It makes me terribly anxious and messes up my sleep even when I stick with one cup, early in the day. Most of the time I stick with tea, usually Lady Grey with nothing in it. I also keep a pitcher of unsweetened herb tea (usually mint or lemon-ginger) in the fridge all summer long. There is something so heartening about tea, so soul-nourishing and I never get that from a cup of coffee. I read a quote once that said "a cup of tea is like a bath for your insides" and, as I am a hot bath every evening kind of person, I really liked that sentiment. As for mugs, I have a set of all white mugs with only one lone "fun" mug from my Mom which has become my favorite. But I prefer to see all the pristine white ones lined up in the cupboard instead of a variety. Silly, I guess.

  12. Super cute outfit!!
    I love the Earl. Day, night, hot, cold. I like Lady Grey too. My pickup is so old, it doesn't have any kind of cup holder so I had to buy a crappy plastic portable one from the auto parts store. But I think putting beverages in a 70s "no-spill" mug might also do the trick. Never thought of that!

  13. it is new mug season isn't it, i've been adding to my own collection lately too!

  14. Milla, you look very Finnish in this outfit, braid and of course your own feathered art :o)

    I'm a tea lover, which is a good thing since I have a strong dislike of coffee ;o)

    My favourite teas mostly come from China and Taiwan (particularly oolong and pu'er), but my favourite cups mostly come from Japan, with a white inside since I need to *see* the colour of my tea to appreciate it better...

    Though I tend to make a "chai latte" version of everything: I start by boiling a good chunk of grated ginger for 1-2 mn (at most), then strain (for re-using once or twice, it will be less stringent than in this first boil) and pour over the tea or herbal tea with a dash of cinnamon and cardamom. I add 2 drops of Stevia per cup and 1/4 of almond milk just before drinking, or directly in my bottle to take away. It's also quite good just like this, as a simple fresh ginger drink :o)

    Lindsay makes a fantastic chai tea concentrate, by the way, which she just re-posted (for those of you who haven't seen in yet)

    1. I've just realized that my phrase "chai latte" is a bit redundant. Oh well ;o)

      Also, I should have mentioned that Lindsay's blog is A Wooden Nest in Milla's blogroll. :o)

  15. That is one fantastic mug collection!

    My husband is a big coffee drinker. He used to brew a batch at home every morning (and then drink a ton at work, too), and I'd partake because it was warm and convenient, but it made my breath shallow and my thoughts scattered. I quit drinking coffee daily when I quit smoking because the habits were too intertwined as daily rituals.

    Tea has definitely taken over my life as beverage of choice, second only to a nice, cold glass of water (which I love). I still drink the occasional cup of joe, but not often.

  16. I loved seeing all of your mugs lined up on the window sill... (I think I'm going to have to make something for each of my three Simply Incredible Sisters inspired by your S.I.S. mug)
    I'm currently a tea drinker, and like it in a pot (wearing a knitted tea cosy)...I lose count how many cups a day I drink, but it's around half a dozen. My favourite tea is Earl Grey, especially the blend by James Gourmet Coffee (they are a UK based company), it's the nicest I've tried, and I take it with milk. My boyfriend makes me a coffee first thing in the morning (he's got a fancy schmancy machine), but one is my limit, more than that and I get a bit excited!
    Years ago I made a pot of Earl Grey tea and my dad wanted a cup, I told him I didn't think he'd like it but he said "don't be daft, tea's tea"..... so I poured him a cup, which he sniffed, took a little sip, tried a bit more then after making "ugh ugh" noises, insisted I'd tried to poison him with perfume in the tea. He told everyone "that girl tried to poison me".... he wouldn't have it that that is the way Earl Grey tastes.
    In the winter though my favourite drink is a hot chocolate, I make it for when my boyfriend gets in from work (he cycles home so he'll be all pink cheeked and chilly).....I like to pour in a little splash of Pomona (a type of apple brandy)'s so nice.