Coffee, Tea, and the 4th of July

It is not so odd that I should wake up and think of tea. But tea parties ? Well, it is the 4th of July. I am sure I have mentioned it before on this site, but I am inordinately proud that I have given up coffee. I say “inordinately” because it is not like I went cold turkey off of heroin, still getting rid of the coffee fueled caffeine choke hold is not easy. Just try it. If you are a coffee drinker, try going 24 hours without a cuppa. Feel that pinching behind your eyes? That nail boring into your forehead? That my friend is your addiction.

It was an addiction I was willing to live with. After all, my wife jokes that I must be ADD and my friend who is a psychiatrist said she may be right. Moreover, he said, coffee (caffeine) is a very reputable prescription for dealing with mild ADD. Well, let’s brew up some home remedy! But i knew that my stomach was not a happy camper with Starbuck’s best sloshing around in there. And if they are going to close 600 stores , I should get off the stuff before they cut my supply.

Illness can cure all sorts of things that ail you and in my case it was a stomach flu. After three days of not being able to keep anything in, I woke up to the smell of my wife’s morning coffee and was ready to get a nice mug and some brekkie. Then I realized, I had come through the headaches and withdrawals! I was through to the other side, now was my chance to make a break for it. And I did. I decided to replace my ritual, since as an Anglican I know the importance of ritual, with hot tea. It is luverly.

I have figured out what is the difference, you see coffee is to tea like cigarettes are to pipe tobacco. Sure there are different kinds of coffee, but mostly it is all just burnt beans, but tea comes in so many different aromas and combinations. Green, white, black. Oolong, Darjeeling, Earl Grey (and Lady Grey) with bergomat citrus, Constant Comment, and we are not even talking about herbal teas. It is refreshing, gives a little bit of a wake up and yet is gentle enough that you can have several cups throughout the day without wigging your wig off. (Tea, aside from an evil Starbucks concoction, has roughly 1/2 the caffeine of most coffee. That is after brewing. Tea is nearly double the caffeine in its dry state.)

Finally, may I suggest my own ritual for the morning? I recommend a nice electric kettle like this Krups to get your water piping hot without the wait of the stove top kettle. (Never use a microwave if you can help it. For reasons I do not understand it produces a foam when you put a teabag in a mug of microwaved water.) And my favorite morning tea at the moment is Prince of Wales by Twinings. (Although I have just learned from Wikipedia that Twinings has removed it from the UK market. UPDATE: I have since found a very nice selection of organic loose-leaf tea, reasonably priced from “Positively Tea Company” on Amazon. I like the Irish Breakfast.) I am, of course, a nasty Yank because I simply steep one bag instead of a pot, but time is usually not on my side in the morning and one mug/bag is all I have time for so anything more is a waste. But it is a luverly start to a tea. So brew up a pot or a mug and enjoy the morning!

And in memory of those who fought for our freedom and our ability to enjoy a cuppa tea without undue taxation, today I lift my mug in celebration. And in a much more serious tone, I bow my head in prayer and thanksgiving for those who continue to offer their service and their lives to preserve our freedom. I wish all my American friends a happy and joyous Independence Day. Remember those who have given it to us.

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