Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tea Off

I have no use for golf (no need to forbid me, gentlemen; this lady's not interested), but am insane about all sorts of tea. Something I've always been interested in is the matching of tea with the time of the year. Even though we have exactly two seasons (wet and dry) here and their turning isn't as dramatic as with four, I still would like to observe and pay tribute to the shifting of the seasons elsewhere via tea-drinking. I belong to a tealovers' egroup and at the beginning of the seasons they tend to get sentimental and poetic, describing the changes in the atmosphere and taking it all in with the appropriate cuppa. Their descriptions of autumn are nothing short of wonderful. Really, it leaves one with a momentary ache. Now that the leaves are turning, everybody's talking about apple cider or cranberry tea. I have both, but it's just not the same when everything's so lush and verdant from the afternoon rains (no typhoon lately, thank God). I imagine one would like to look out to a foliage of red and gold when sipping apple cider tisane.
It would also be so thrilling to await catalogs from tea companies advertizing their first flush of spring or autumn or whathaveyou products and then finally getting them in the mail and selecting which ones to buy, having very specific mental images of moments the choices would be perfect for. To have at least a semblance of the practice, I flick through the tea basket or
open the cupboard for sealed stock (I usually don't buy as I'm frugal, but have generous relatives abroad who keep the supply from running out).
I read about the elements of tea once, so I try to implement what I learned from that single article. Supposedly green tea has cooling factors, so it's better for the warm months whereas oolong is the opposite and is thus better for cold weather. Hmmm, honestly? I usually go by smell and its association. For instance, I drink peppermint tea to capture that memory from a December evening shortly after my wedding. Then, there's the fact that I usually can't abide by jasmine tea as it feels pretty much like drinking my grandmother's talcum powder, but when I was living away and missing her, I had copious cups of it.
Also, I may not be in a place that enjoys the four seasons, but I am blessed to have already experienced them elsewhere. I simply have to choose the right kind of tea and mere memories become almost tangible.
Going back to the present with a thud, it's easy or natural enough to be mindful of the seasons here when I drink tea. If it's muggy and hot, iced tea is the answer; if it's muggy and rainy, keep the tea chilled; if it's cooler, bring the teacups out; if torrential rains are giving their regular lashings, have lots of mugs ready and fill my thermos - our church is going out to rescue the flooded. For me, any moment is an excuse to have tea.

3 comments:

tin said...

I love tea! I always choose this over coffee...although I recently discovered that coffee helps eliminate my migraine...

My first love for tea began when I was about 11 years old at mama's office, there's this Indian guy who makes a mean cup of tea...but then again I think it was just Lipton...hehe...

I love peppermint, just because I love anything mint, I love jasmine as well...I failed to go to tea shops when I was in HK. I remembered hoarding a few pounds of tea leaves during my trip in 2003.

Nasisira ba ang loose leaf? Coz I still found a pack from 2003 in our cupboard...hehe...

spinninglovelydays said...

hi, christine. what i know about natural/herbal stuff is that it doesn't expire. some varieties of tea are best drunk fresh and some are like wine and just get better as they age. i guess it also depends on how the leaves were stored. i know they also print something like "best before" or "quality guaranteed"... dates on the box. that's not necessarily an expiration date. according to some students of mine who insisted on eating something that had gone past its "best before" date, "NOW it's just plain GOOD." those individuals are still alive and thriving, lol.

tin said...

It's the loose kind and I have it placed in a microwavable container, sige try ko nga...next time when you visit...hehe... onga pala you don't like jasmine so much, I think jasmine yung meron pa ako.