I can rattle off at least one reason for every finger as to what I love about tea. Some of them are: tea and food pairing, baking, reading, entertaining, dunking, tea cups, caffeine, hydration, health, happiness, beauty……..
I love a good cup of tea well made, using fresh leaves, in a beautiful cup, at the optimum temperature, in the right environment.
Also, I love tea because it goes so well with my other favourite – food. You can drink it alongside your food or add to almost any type of dish on the menu.
😊 I grew to love tea
I didn’t always like tea. Growing up hot drinks of any sort did not appeal to me although I was always quick to make tea or coffee for my parents or visitors. In adulthood it became an issue. I would attend many community meetings or functions which inevitably concluded with afternoon tea or supper. To decline a hot drink was tiresome as anyone seeing me empty handed supposed no one had seen to me yet and would insist on asking what I would like. Eventually I taught myself to like tea to avoid the hassle.
Today I am lost without tea – black, green, white, oolong, purple, as well as all sorts of herbals or tisanes. I drink several a day and always on the lookout for something different to add to my collection. But it isn’t just the tea itself it is the tea essentials, accessories, adventures and every day experiences that come with tea.
😊 I love the versatility
There was a time where tea was just for the cup and to quench the first. Nowdays it adds a unique taste to cooking, provides health benefits in herbal blends, is a theme in many fiction books, may add to the mindful state for meditation, definitely an option to deal with insomnia and even appears in some cosmetics. It is even used to dye material. What other ingredient traverses such a diverse range of places adding value to them all? Then there is the amazing range of teas and herbals to choose from including purple, bamboo, saffron, cotton, gumbi gumbi teas.
I love trying new or different teas and you can read more about some of them here
😊 I love reading books about tea and with tea
Until I studied tea and became a qualified Tea Master I had not seriously read books about tea. However I now have an interesting collection of both fiction and non fiction books which I have enjoyed reading.
Three books about tea I found interesting are
- The Ancient Art of Tea – Wisdom from the Old Chinese Tea Masters. If Chinese tea culture fascinates you then you will love this book and all its detail. This is a cute selection of secrets about tea as practised by ancient Chinese masters.
- Modern Tea – A Fresh Look at an Ancient Beverage. On reading this book you will gain an understanding of how to use tea, how to store, steep, drink, cook, and a range of other uses for your favourite drink.
- Tea Sommelier – a tastefully created volume of beautiful tea photography showing and explaining tea rituals, recipes, tea instruments and history. I was gifted this by a group of friends who knew of my love of all things tea and what a great choice.
Who likes curling up with a good book and a cup of tea? Mindlessly sipping away at a smooth herbal tea while slipping the pages over and losing all track of time. Hands up if guilty? ✔
Read here for more favourite fictional books about tea
😊 I love entertaining with tea
It is Chinese traditional custom that a host has to serve a visiting guest a cup of tea firstly when he enters his house. A poem by Du Luei of Tang Dynasty shows an aspect of the function of tea:
Guests coming in, in the cold, cold night,
I serve cups of hot tea in the place of warm wine
For most people mention a tea party and it means High Tea. I love High Tea parties.
The British tradition of High Tea began in the mid 1700s as an afternoon meal usually served between 3 and 4 o’clock. Initially, it was a meal for the working man, taken standing up or sitting on tall stools, thus ‘high’. Tea with cakes, scones, even cheese on toast would have been served.
High Tea on the farm
Nowadays a more elaborate menu is served for High Tea. It is more likely served to a group of people for a special occasion. It definitely isn’t served to the working men! Although I do think my gorgeous late mother in law used to try and replicate it when serving afternoon tea on the farm in New Zealand. My father in law was a very successful racehorse trainer and had strict routines to keep to. The men always came in around 3.30pm for afternoon tea before feeding the racehorses and putting them in stables for the night. It almost always consisted of fancy sandwiches and cream cakes. She only ever used the best of china so they had their tea served in the tea cups too. It was a fun time for the children too who were allowed to sit at the table and eat up large!
In more recent years I recall on my return from living in another country I invited some friends to High Tea. They loved the concept. It was a chance to share my new found love of tea and also catch up after an absence overseas. I served a variety of teas which my friends enjoyed and we shared cute sandwiches, savouries, cream cakes, chocolates and mini desserts.
Click here for some High Tea ideas
If you have ever made visitors feel so welcome they are not keen to leave here are some ideas for discreet ways of moving them along
😊I love the art of dunking
If you don’t mind a few biscuit crumbs at the bottom of the cup when you finish then DO try dunking your biscuits. You will have to experiment with different types of course as some are better than others. These may vary from country to country and dependent on your age! Maybe check if your hosts or fellow tea drinkers are dunking in case they consider it “bad” manners, if you care.
Dunking isn’t just for softening biscuits. Oh no! It enhances the tea when sucked through the biscuit. I believe Tim Tams are very good for this. Now it is starting to sound like it could be bad manners but I wouldn’t agree if done properly and very discreetly.
Favourite dunking biscuits
My favourite biscuits to dunk are Gingernuts. The tea softens them up nicely which is necessary when your teeth are wearing out. The structural integrity of the gingernut is such that you don’t have to be so careful with how long you dunk for. It is unlikely to fall off. On the other hand Malt biscuits soften very quickly and may finish up in the cup. Aagh the dilemma….. Be patient and with practice you will be able to calculate the timing and best biscuit options for the occasion.
I dunk in green tea, herbal tea, any teas.
For more on the art of dunking check this page out
When you have mastered the art of tea dunking you may like to try dunking licorice in lemonade or digestive biscuits in milk.
😊 I love my tea in beautiful cups
There is something about the taste of tea when drunk from beautiful cups. It also makes me feel very special when using the best of the best for my cup of tea. Why leave the best of our bone or fine china in a cabinet and never use it?
My favourite is a Royal Albert tea set I received from my grandparents on my twenty frst birthday. That happens to be many moons ago and I still have the complete set.
A china cup has a light thin lip which feels nicer than the thicker mugs or ceramic styles of cups sometimes used in tea rooms. The durability of the latter makes them more sensible to use on high use areas. However in the comfort of my own home and in some high class tea rooms I enjoy the fine or bone china. The cup is wider at the top which helps cool the tea quicker, very handy if extremely thirsty. The white inside means I can see the colour of the tea and appreciate all aspects of it. Because of the more delicate state of the cup I tend to relax and take my time drinking it, so good for the health! You can see I am serious about my tea drinking! We all need to pamper ourselves
😊 Cooking with love
I am as keen on cooking as I am on drinking tea. Therefore it is only natural I look at ways to use tea in my cooking.
The reasons to use tea vary; it may be to finish off leftover steeped tea, add flavour to meals, to marinade, use up less popular tea leaves, or just because you want to use tea in the pantry as many ways as possible.
Flavours can be smoky, woody, earthy, spicy, fruity and even vegetal. These flavours can be achieved by marinading, grinding the tea, using the liquid or sometimes adding fresh tea leaves. You will need to experiement a little to know how much to use.
Some examples of ways I have used teas are:
- Cakes – Earl Grey, any Breakfast tea . Try this Black Tea cake
- Desserts – Rooibos My favourite Fruit Crumble
- Meat – Lapsong Souchong marinaded pork chops for a sweet smoky flavour
How have you used tea in cooking? I would love to hear from you and I will add more of my suggestions as I have time to cook.