Clouds in my coffee, tales in my tea
Despite appearances, this blog is not about coffee. Or tea. But many important events in my life, and unimportant steps in my day, are accompanied by a (frequently half-finished) cup of one or the other.
I come from a pair of dedicated tea drinkers. In his later years, my father would start his day with several cups of tea – sometimes black, more often white – strong and properly brewed in a glazed pot with a crocheted tea cosy. In Canberra winters, whole frosty mornings or windy afternoons could be measured in cups of tea.
My mother never started the day without a cup of milky, sweet tea. Tea was also frequently the first part of her solution to almost any problem.
Both would drink tea on the hottest of summer afternoons.
Coffee in our house was of the instant variety, but tea was always properly brewed in small aluminium tea pots and poured through a tannin-stained strainer only after the requisite brewing. As a child, the third of five, I longed to be one of the grown ups. My older sister is ten years older than me; my older brother, eight. They were both tea drinkers, I think (or at least, seasoned tea-makers), by the time I was 4. One morning, I asked them to make me a cup of tea. “Would you like tea with milk or tea with lemon?” They asked. I’m told I thought about if for a moment before announcing “Both”.
They duly and seriously served me warm, weak tea (as you would a four-year-old) with both milk and lemon. I apparently took a big gulp, put my cup down and said “Ahhh…just right!”.
I lived a while in the United States, where I failed to find a decent cup of coffee in nearly twelve months. And in Penrith, I have found only one cafe that serves a seriously good coffee. I sometimes wonder if my dissatisfaction with the quality of the coffee here has more to do with my ambivalence about living in the area than the local baristas or beans, but that’s a whole other post.
These days, I frequently experience only that blissful first mouthful of a hot cup of tea before life interrupts. There are half-consumed cups of tea or coffee found in all sorts of places around our home.
Do I have a problem with committing to the cup? Am I scared of what I might find if I dare to reach the bottom? Do I subconsciously fear that my coffee or tea couldn’t possibly love me the way I love it? Nah. Life just gets in the way.
So what’s this blog about then? It’s about my cup – and all the things that fill it. My family, my ideas, my joys and my heartbreaks. Lessons learned and letting go. The things that make me chortle. The things that rile me up. All the brilliant things that happen and all the shit that comes with them.
Must be time for a cup of tea.