“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

…about the Tea Party.

I am starting to wonder about where we are placing our priorities in this world, and I often ponder on whether the fact that we are a coffee-drinking nation is a metaphor for this.

Coffee – caffeine packed, high octane, the-blacker-the-better stimulant that gets us through our day because we move, move, move from one thing to another.  The way we brew it is even fast – forcing hot steam in single-serving increments.  It’s all about instant gratification.  I think the only saving grace is that the emergence of coffee houses has encouraged some sort of socialization factor around our caffeinated culture. But less and less I see the congenial small talk around the corporate coffee pot.  More and more, I see isolated businessmen plugged into their laptops and Blackberries occupying the tables near the outlets and less do I see the tight circles of earnest discussion.  Even that nod to personal interaction has been co-opted to feed our never-stop-working ethic.

Tea is different.  Tea has to steep.  In fact, tea is at its finest when brewed for more than one,  in a pot, with the temperature just right.  Tea is not really a paper-cup commodity.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that iced tea is the table wine of the congenial, slower-paced South, where the offering of tea to a guest is still de riguer ritual.  Tea is made for real glass glasses and real china cups.  Tea makes you slow down.  Tea requires mindfulness.  Tea is neighborly.

I have a mind to give up coffee and switch back to tea.  I was a tea drinker until my 30’s when grad school made caffeination a survival necessity.  I do not think it is a coincidence that my life since that time has become increasingly hectic and complicated.  Of course, this could also be attributed to growing up, but I am sticking with the coffee theory.

I know I cannot quit cold-turkey – the resultant headaches from deprivation of my drug-of-choice have convinced me that weaning slowly is about all the pain I can take.  But I am determined that after that first morning pick-me-up, I am tea from here on out.

Care to join me?

I’ll bring the scones.

September 15th, 2008 at 12:12 pm
11 Responses to “I wasn’t kidding…”
  1. 1
    Cinnkitty Says:

    I can bring my tea cozy. 🙂 Yes, I actually have one AND a tea pot. I love a pot of tea during the colder months!!

  2. 2
    OS Says:

    I’ve become known at the office as the girl who makes the jet fuel. And I’m pretty sure that tomorrow morning my doctor is gonna say that I gotta quit it. So, I’m with you.

  3. 3
    Kat Says:

    Except for the recreational cup of java (which I’ve had to give up these past seven months), I have been on the tea wagon for more than five years. It was one of the first lifestyle changes I made after Carlwyn’s death. And I have never, never regretted it. There’s just something about a delicious cup of chammomile, spiced chai, spearmint, even Darjeeling that seems civilized and relaxed and wonderful.

    The only way I got through the nausea of April was with Paul bringing me a cup of chai with milk and honey every time he thought I looked puny.

  4. 4
    Stephanie Says:

    I’m not much of a tea drinker. In fact I don’t think that I’ve ever really sat down and drank a full cup that wasn’t iced sweet tea.

    I could learn to appreciate tea. Count me in.

  5. 5
    Judith Says:

    That does make sense. I used to be a tea drinker, but “haven’t had time” to make tea for some years now. I have three two-cup teapots, and one 4-6 pot one. Plus beautiful teacups, in the British tradition: tea cup and saucer match, but each set is from a different pattern. I have some that were my mother’s, and my grandmothers (both sides of my family plus my husband’s) including a commorative teacup from QEII’s visit to Canada. (Father’s side). I think I’ll buy some tea again next time I go to the store.

    But don’t forget, many teas also have caffine.

  6. 6
    William McNaughton Says:

    Back in the 1880’s, when Western Civilization was, you know, civilized, the Brits referred to tea as “the genial beverage,” for the very reasons you list.

    Sadly, the doc as put me off of caffine except for “one cup of coffee in the morning, and, if you like, one caffinated beverage at dinner.”

    A pot of dragon-eye oolong is now off the menu. *sigh*

    Will

  7. 7
    Kylie Says:

    *ssiiiigghh*
    I do love a cup of tea, with a bit of sugar and a spalsh of milk. Since I got pregnant and had to give up my 4 cup a day coffee habit I have been drinking tea- the caffeine content of which has been approved by my doc. Without that little bit of caffeine I get migraines- at least thats my excuse.

    I’m an English Breakfast tea drinker- nice medium stregth tea, with a taste that, for me, is what tea should taste like (although I do like rooibos tea- red bush tea, which incidently happens to be caffeine free). I am not much into falvors – although I do stray occasionally to Lady Grey or Irish breakfast tea- I think thats what its called.
    Anyway- count me in…

    By the way- have you ever had “high tea” at the peabody? I’m going to have a get together in the next couple of months- a ladies tea afternoon- I’ll let you know 🙂

  8. 8

    Just as soon as I finish this pot of coffee.

  9. 9
    Kelly Says:

    Blueberry please. I’ll find some clotted cream

  10. 10
    Duren Says:

    As long as the tea is decaf…
    I can’t have caffeine…
    Scones – scones I can HAVE!

  11. 11
    Rebecca U Says:

    I give up caffeine every year for lent (ok, yes, I realize that really isn’t the point of lent, and shouldn’t I not go back to it after Easter, but…) and cold turkey can work if your sphere (those around you) can handle it. But I do suggest cutting back to one a day slowly beforehand. (I drink soda, not coffee, but same principle applies). Caffeine is everywhere – even some granola bars for pity’s sake – and extra strength painkillers contain it as well, just fyi.