I’m dedicating a blog entry to tea, because it’s so brilliant, and I feel the need to share this. I am not the only one who thinks so, with tea second only to water in beverage consumption across the world. There are all sorts of tea-loving goings on, but my favourite is a cult in Malaysia, who worship a giant teapot.
Tea is basically the greatest short term remedy ever. What chocolate does for dementor recovery, tea does for everything else. The injured, the shocked, the upset, the disturbed, the wasted, the tired, the lonely, the angry, the excited, all do better with a cup of tea inside. Especially if someone makes it for them.
And let’s take a minute to thank the pot of tea. Preferably drunk out of a cup and saucer. Top yourself up. Raise your caffeine levels. Go out for a proper pot of tea. Sit in a cafe and people watch. At uni, we used to make it in great mixing bowls or saucepans, and you could dip your cup in at leisure. I love the social aspect of tea, the etiquette of being welcomed into someone’s home, the sharing of drinks, the bonds formed and perpetuated, the words that spill over the steam.
But it can be private too: sitting outside, hands round a mug, watching the world. Or hiding inside, huddled under a duvet.
If you don’t like tea (yes, I hear there are some weirdos in this category), I truly feel for you. What a fantastic institution to be locked out of. There are, however, plenty of other uses for tea. Use it as a meat marinade, a fertiliser for roses, a cleaner, an odor eliminator, a puffy eyes reliever. Cold tea takes the sting out of sunburn and helps make brunette hair shiny. It can, apparently, even be used to get rid of warts. Who knew!
I still strongly urge you to drink tea, though. I started looking up some qualities of tea, and by golly! there are so many! And I wasn’t even stepping into the land of green tea, which by all accounts, is something of a miracle cure. Tea is a natural antioxidant, rich in vitamins, and a natural source of fluoride that helps protect against tooth decay and gum disease (although your teeth may also stain. Swings and roundabouts.) It can help fight cardiovascular disease and various cancers. How good is that? It’s only a bloody cup of tea! It can help promote fertility by preventing abnormalities in our chromosomes – in one study, just half a cup of tea per day resulted in doubled pregnancy rates compared to non-tea drinkers. And, it can boost your sex life. I thought this might mean that people who drank tea were found more attractive, but apparently it’s a virility thing (Ashwagandha is the one you want to pick, if, you know, you had a friend who wondered). Shame, I thought there was something in promoting the image of attractive models with cups of tea. Then you’d feel left out, wouldn’t you, filthy non-tea-drinkers. Plus, by the process of natural selection, we’d get rid of you anyway. But there must be a cup of tea for everyone in the 15,000 or so varieties.
After feeling so disappointed in the out-of-water English of late, I’m glad I’ve had this moment to appreciate what a marvellous tradition we have to share. I miss having people over for a cuppa, or catching up over a cup of tea. And don’t even get me started on biscuits. They have a tea culture here, but it isn’t the same. The gesture of making someone a cup of tea, like a pat on the shoulder or a hug, is squandered on the more open Australians. Our reserved nature has allowed tea to step in where we aren’t comfortable, and I don’t mean this as a bad thing – I love the subtlety of it. They do, however, have Tim Tams here, which are like Penguins, only better, and you can use them as a straw for your tea, so all is not lost.
So, tea. Yummy, scrummy, magnificent tea. I literally do not have higher praise for the stuff. Drink it. Do it. Live the dream.