Monday, 23 February 2009
My closest friendships are based on a mutual love of chatting over cups of tea. Chats without tea - not the same. Tea without chats - just wouldn't happen. Tea is as important culturally in modern Britain as it always has been in traditional African culture. The astute visitor to Ethiopia or Sierra Leone is schooled in the essential good manners in accepting the offered hospitality of a drink of coffee or bush tea. A refused drink could cause offense for a generation. But even good friendships in England can be challenged with the refusal of the welcome that is embodied in a cup of tea or coffee. Relationships are cemented in the giving and receiving of hot drinks. Office politics smoothed by the generous offers to make drinks for your colleagues.
Tea, whilst admittedly not healthy to drink in excess, is also at its most charming when flowing freely. Pots seem to improve the tea fourfold, making it more rounded, mellow and fuller. Although here I should advise that to warm the pot is to bless the brew. Caution should also be taken with milk jugs, which tend to flow freely even into the cups that prefer of all things soya milk or even black tea. As I said much to Hebe's amusement, "The problem with jugs is you get carried away".
I will continue my musings on tea soon.