Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The ladies at Snapshots Around the World are enjoying tea (or at least photographs) this week, and so, I'm posting my picture here, again.

My tea is Barry's Gold with a bit of sugar and 1% milk. Enjoyed with a chocolate, chocolate chip, cherry biscotti.

Tea for me, is much more than a beverage. Tea, is an event, whether enjoyed alone or with family, or with a friend. To me, tea is a process, and a moment to be enjoyed. I know some people make tea with a cup of water in the microwave. For me, heating one's water in the microwave defeats the purpose. The point is to have a moment of two during the day (and by moment I mean more than a minute) to slow down, to relax and divert one's attention from work. The process of brewing the tea is important to the total experience.

Fill the kettle with cool, fresh water and put it on the stove. Heat until boiling (the water must be very hot in order to brew the tea properly). When the water boils, turn it off and let it sit for just a moment. The decision to use a tea bag or loose leaves is personal. Loose leaves are not always superior over tea bags, as long as quality tea is used -- with either method. Quality tea does not have to be exorbitantly expensive -- just choose a good, reliable brand, or visit a tea shop and ask for advice. Place loose leaves in a strainer (or chose a bag) and place in cup or tea pot. Add hot water and let steep for at least three to five minutes -- taste to determine your preference. Do not dunk twice and discard -- you are completely missing the point, and the taste. After steeping, remove bag or strainer (do not squeeze). Add sugar, lemon or cream (or leave plain). Serve with a treat. Keep a box or tin of cookies in the pantry just for tea, or bake some scones and pop them in the freezer -- pull one out and heat in the oven or toaster oven for 20 minutes before tea time. Sit and enjoy with a book, a friend, or just quiet moments looking out the window.

A good cup of tea should recharge you, and not just because it's caffeinated.



Linda said...

A lovely, informative post, Barbara, and right on the money! Tea is a cherished event!

What's Cookin Stacey?? said...

Always love my afternoon tea! Great blog!

Sue said...

Very well said. Tea is definitely not just a drink. The Japanese created an entire elaborate ceremony around it!

Just to add my two yen... in Japan, some pots have built-in strainers (like the one in my photo), but in general it's believed best to let the leaves float as much as possible. The tea leaves are added straight to the pot, then strained out while pouring the tea (using a little mini strainer just for tea). It's probably not saying much, but I had never seen that before coming to live here.

Ashley said...

A girl after my own heart. I love a cuppa. Especially with a little treat!

Barb, sfo said...

MMMMMMMMM...Barry's...delicious! You've got me convinced--I need an afternoon teatime.

Wayne said...

can I just say that while this post was certainly informative, I couldn't help but nearly cozy down with you and literally walk through the steps with you. Great writing! I couldn't help but slow down and enjoy the process.

(I also couldn't help but notice the several mistakes I make when drinking tea myself and the reason I don't drink tea all that often - I don't think I could forge 10 minutes to myself with three little ones running around the house. Haha! Any tips?)

scmom (Barbara) said...

I'm glad you see it my way, Linda! ;-)

Thanks, Stacey. I'm glad you stopped by.

Sue, I have a little cast iron Japanese tea pot that I use for loose tea (English Breakfast or Earl Grey). It has a drop in strainer that one pulls out after steeping. It's really lovely.

I would love to enjoy a real Japanese tea. We used to have a little Japanese Tea House in our small town, but it's gone now -- the whole Japanese building and everything.

The treat is crucial, is it not? ;-)

Whenever I buy Barry's I tell myself it will be a treat, but who can drink anything else with Barry's in the house?

You need to make tea for all of them, and all slow down and enjoy. Lots of milk and sugar and a special treat to go with. My grandma used to make my brothers and I tea (and she used one tea bag among all four of us!) with a treat, and we were never so good as when we were sitting at the table with tea and treat! It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, just special.

Rebecca said...

I've never tried Barry's Gold. Now I'll have to be on the lookout for it at the store. And thanks for playing along this week!

Carina said...

What a lovely post, Barbara; you are definitely a "kindred spirit!" I too love the ritual of tea--a ritual I participate in several times a day! :)

What always surprises me here in the US is how few people use electric kettles. In the UK and other commonwealth countries (Had to add the "commonwealth" for my Aussie husband!), everyone uses an electric kettle. It is my most used kitchen appliance!

scmom (Barbara) said...

Rebecca, The only place I find Barry's is World Market.

It's interesting that you mention the electric kettle. I know most British use an electric kettle and I've never know an American to own one. I admit that the sound of the water starting to simmer in the bottom of my stainless tea kettle on the gas stove starts my engine -- I'm like Pavlov's dog! I'm not certain an electric kettle would do the same thing for me. ;-)

achan said...

Reading your post made me feel like I was actually preparing a pot for myself!

I am surrounded by coffee drinkers, all hiped up and ready to be on their way, I wish I had some tea drinking friends as I find they tend to stop and savour the moment.

thanks for your post, I've had my cuppa now and off to cook dinner :)

Heidi said...

I'm a tea lover also. My bridal shower even had a tea-theme and was held at a tea house here in NJ. I'm happy to say that my big girls (ages 9 and 7) are tea lovers also, though they usually have an herbal tea instead. I think it is the whole ritual of sitting down with a hot cup of tea and a cookie that has sold them on it. :)