Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thinking About Coffee and Tea

I love good coffee. Especially hazelnut coffee, and especially freshly made with good cream. I'm not a diehard coffee drinker, but sometime over the years I've become picky about my coffee. I will travel miles out of my way if I know a place that serves good coffee. I will walk extra blocks at work to get to Ellen's Ice Cream because she always has fresh hazelnut coffee (from organic, free-trade beans, no less) ready made.

Coffee cups are important to the flavor of the coffee to me. Who wants to drink really great coffee out of a mug advertising Mike's Lube and Brake Shop? Not me. I select a cup to suit my mood and need for caffeine. Big, small, pottery, china, flowered, plain, clear glass, large, small, or very cool shape--all are important to finding the right cup for the brew. Weird? I thought so, but recently learned that I am not alone in this persnicketyness. My sister Maggie stood contemplating my rows of cups and said, "Hmmm, which one is the right one this morning?" It must run in the family.

My favorite coffee mug

I'm a tea drinker too. My English mother taught us to make proper English tea, and it ruined me forever for getting hot tea when I'm out. Tea, you see, is best when made with loose leaves. A teaball is acceptable, but loose leaves are better (use a strainer when pouring, unless you like straining through your teeth!).

The water must be boiling, not just hot (which is why she harrumphed at hot tea machines--the water in those is never boiling). Good tea leaves is a must --she liked a brand called PJ Tips and ordered this English tea through a place in Texas. Mom finally began using teabags as she got older, but she was adamant about using good tea. I am not so diehard about it--but I do like Earl Grey or English Breakfast the best, and don't often use anything else.

I also do not like drinking tea out of a mug (Mom's influence again). I need a teacup with a saucer, and bone china is preferred. When we were children, we looked forward to our 12th birthday because that meant we got our very own china teacup and could have tea at the dinnertable with the grown-ups. It was a rite of passage at our house.

My kitchen shelves--my dishes don't go in cabinets, because I like to look at them.

I realized this year that several of my grandchildren were twelve or older and I had not given them a teacup. I am rectifying that, finding beautiful cups in antique shops for each child who has reached the milestone age. The tradition is being passed on and I hope some of the grandchildren will continue it with their children.


earth heart said...

I just love your coffee mugs and your wonderful tea tradition. I'm a die hard coffee drinker but I do love good tea, too. English Breakfast is one I prefer, also.

Anonymous said...

I have two favorite mugs...not as picky about drinking tea from a mug, but the mugs I like the most are the ones you bought! One has echinecea on it and the other has a lily. When I drink coffee or tea from those mugs in the morning...it is going to be a good day.

Matthew Burns said...

I just love your mugs! They have so much character...just like you! You are soooo right about loose tea being sooo much better. I love my loose Earl Grey (and yes, I have to use a strainer). And to think I grew up on Tetley in the bag!!! I reckon I've just gotten persnickety.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tradition to hand down. Please post some pictures of those beautiful tea cups when you come across them.


Grand Life said...

It's always a pleasure to visit your blog. Have a great week.

City Mouse said...

Hazelnut with cream is a favorite of mine also - and th cup is very important. I swear it tastes different in different cups. Your stoneware mug collection is very pretty!

Granny Sue said...

So I am not alone in my mug fetish! TM, I am so glad you like those mugs. Whenever I use something given to me by a friend-or even better, by a sister--it brightens my day.

Deloutre, I wil definitely post some photos of teacups. A few have gone home with their claimants--Clayton took his last weekend, a really neat shaped-cup with a lot of gold and only one tiny flower--important to a boy.

CM, you and I have a lot in common! Hazelnut rules in my coffee world, but my husband completely doesn't understand.

Earthheart and Matt, you know what I'm talkin' about! I've been getting into iced coffee lately-just coffee and cream over ice--and it is so good in the hot weather.

Karen said...

Granny Sue--I thought I was the only one who had special coffee cups. I have mugs and cups and saucers but my latest fave is one that says "Peace". I look forward to seeing the photos of your collection of cups.

Midlife's A Trip

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