Tea moment snapshot: A tall glass of chilled tea, a shady spot, and naptime! Of course, to transition this imagined scenario into reality you first have to find a shady spot. (There’s always a catch!) If you’re a princess like me, it has to be just the right shady spot. Let’s examine some options.
You’re probably thinking of the obvious choice: a big tree, especially one with big leaves. Princess Trees (from China) and Catalpas come to mind. Oaks are good, too. Maples are okay, but the shade can be a bit spotty. The big drawback is finding yourself under a bird or two perching on a branch and doing what comes naturally.
Don’t forget about various structures such as gazebos, trellises, and covered porches and decks, especially screened-in ones. Gazebos and trellises are even shadier when heavily covered with vines like honeysuckle, wisteria, and ivy. Of course, the blossoms tend to attract a bee or two…or three…or fifty. Unless you’re allergic, don’t worry about them. They’ll go about their business, and you can relax and sip your tea.
If you are going to be comfortable, you need comfortable seating, preferably something with ample padding. A way to put your feet up and arm rests are also nice things to have. You don’t want to be lying back too flat, since drinking your tea could be a tad tricky. Maybe you could use one of those hats with straws and beverage containers attached that people use for other drinks.
Okay, you have the perfect shady spot selected. You have comfy seating all lined up and waiting. Oops! No tea!
Now, normally I advocate a bit of thinking ahead here. That is, you steep the tea the day before and chill it in the frig overnight. But this is a crisis. Maybe not as great as some of the recent crises we’ve experienced, but nonetheless…
A crisis calls for extreme measures, so here goes: Get out the ice! Yes, I said “ice.” Steep up your tea extra strong and pour it over a glassful of ice. (Hint: if you want the tea sweetened, add the sweetener to the hot tea before pouring over the ice.) Why extra strong? Because the next steps involves a bit of understanding of chemistry, along with some patience. Let the tea sit for a few minutes. Some of the ice will melt, turning back into water molecules that will dilute the tea. And since water is denser than ice, the volume in your glass will go down slightly, meaning that you might be able to add another ice cube or two. Of course, you could use crushed ice instead of cubes. It would melt faster and chill the tea sooner, so you could get to that shady spot faster. In fact, take the tea glass and ice with you to that hot spot. The ice will melt faster and dilute the tea to a pleasant drinkable strength.
Even in the shade, don’t forget your sun hat and SPF lotion. (Gee, this relaxing is hard work!)
As for me, I’ll stay indoors in the air conditioning with a cuppa hot tea, a shortbread cookie, and a good book. Enjoy!
Got a laptop? Haul it under a tree and check out Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!
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