Monday, July 9, 2012

Tea Tales

It's only apt that my first post should be about that irreplaceable, irresistible classic - a steaming cup of tea.  It's what wakes us up, calms us down and sets the stage for the best gossip sessions.

"Anyone for tea ? I'm making some !" has been my rallying cry to sleepy-eyed friends on many a cold/rainy afternoon.......and no one has ever said no (except G, who, for some incomprehensible reason, dislikes tea !). Whether it's 2 pm or 2 am, chai is the perfect background for whatever you're doing. 

It was my most essential tool in my working days. Without the 4 cups a day, I just wouldn't function. Now that I don't need that level of focus any more, I'm down to 1-2 cups a day. But I put in much more effort into that one cup, and it satisfies so much more than those 4 hurriedly made, dunk-teabag-add-milk-back-to-work cups.

I'm of the old-fashioned, brewing-tea-in-a-pan-for-eternity school of thought; teabags seem like the poor cousins of the mighty loose-leaf. Here in the US, there's very few options for people like me - it's either make do with that Starbucks disaster called "Chai Tea Latte" (a cacophony of cinnamon, nutmeg and syrup that tastes less like tea and more like hipster juice) or stay at home and brew the darn cup yourself. 

Now, I love the results of the brewing; I'm just not very fond of the work it requires. The  million dirty utensils that are left behind in the wake of that perfect cup sometimes, sometimes, make it seem not worth it. 

Which is where this genius invention steps in to save the day !!! The tea mesh ball that eliminates the need for a sieve, and the pot stays clean !! Discovered this in a tiny shop in SF Chinatown.........for $2. 

So far, it's worked well - tea leaves stayed in, expanded well, and no pot scrubbing ! I might even go up to brewing twice a day. Aaaaaaaaaaah. 

What's your take on tea ? Brewed, teabag or none at all ? How many cups a day ? Cinnamon and nutmeg, or plain Tata/Red Label ?


  1. Ek garam chai ki pyaali ho, aur usko banane wali ho - is every teaholic's dream come true.

    I'm a tea snob - not for me the boiled variety. I'd rather have it the propah way. The best Darjeeling, soaked in a pot, for not more than 5 minutes, with a hint of milk and sugar.

    And now I feel terrible, making you drink the crappy tea I prepared in your honour.

    1. Aaaaaah.....the tea perfectionist ! You go girl !

      And no, I wouldn't inflict the tedious task of making boiled/brewed tea on anyone but myself, so don't feel bad ! Earl Grey is pretty good in a teabag. :)

  2. Aaaahhhh... A cup of kadak chai with good rusk to dunk in it... Heavenly!

    My parents have always had their tea the polished British way - a teapot of boiling water with tea leaves soaked covered in a teacozy, a separate small milk pot and sugar... Mix according to your taste. Though i love the ritual of pouring tea this way, I prefer my tea the tea-stall way (mixed in a saucepan)

    Love the Red Label Herbal tea which has cardamom, cloves and some herbs added to it already. I, however like to put in extra cardamom to it. Extra tea leaves for that zing and very little milk.

    You know my mantra - If you are having tea, it should taste like tea and not milk!

    1. I can totally imagine your parents doing that - the colonel and the lady, drinking from their china cups, civilized conversation in the background. Unlike our chai-wala type, boiled-to-death-in-a-saucepan, accompanied by loud guffaws and snorts.

      Tea is so individual, yet so universal.

  3. Seconded- I love Red label Herbal too! But being a prof implies at least one cuppa being force-fed to you during meetings. Extremely thankful for a canteen that supplies us with good cardamom tea :) When at home, I prefer Earl Gray.... or mint tea when I can get my hands on it !