Hubby and I drink tea every day, cupful after cupful — that’s a lot! It gives us a great deal of “kettle sitting” time wherein we ponder the mysteries of the universe, or more often just think about silly stuff. This time it was flexibility and tea. Seemed a natural.
Flexibility is the ability to see things from all kinds of angles and, when encountering an angle that makes more sense and squares better with the facts, change attitude and/or behavior accordingly. It is also the ability to accept something different from what you normally prefer, especially if you can refrain from snickering or getting a look on your face like you just stepped in something rather unpleasant.
One of the wonderful things about tea is its allowing you flexibility. Tea can be different things to different people, and all tastes are accommodated. Some people have a problem with this, and think tea should only be certain things enjoyed a certain way. I struggle with this sometimes, too, and have to stop myself from even thinking, “How dare you not like milk in your tea!” (There is a sticky note in my brain that says, “We all are free to choose.” Actually, it’s more like one of those huge lighted signs in Times Square.)
For many of you, tea is your wake-up in the morning instead of coffee. You go for a hearty breakfast tea, with or without milk, and often made from Assam, Nilgiri, Ceylon, or Keemun. Or maybe you think a freshly steeped cuppa Spring Pouchong or Chun Mee would get your juices going and set all synapses firing for the day. Maybe a few infusions of a black pu-erh is your engine starter. A plethora of options.
Tea also serves as your afternoon “moment” when you need a respite from the stress of the day, be it dealing with customers demanding the impossible from your store, the boss loading you up with a pile of work, or your kids missing the bus to school. You can sip a nice white tea, contemplate the flavor subtleties of an oolong changing with each infusion, inhale the therapeutic aroma of a jasmine green tea, or sip a lighter black tea or a first flush Darjeeling tea.
Tea can be prepared in a number of ways. You can steep loose leaves in a gaiwan, dunk a bag in a cup of hot water, or steep up a potful. You can heat the water in a tea kettle on the stove, in an electric kettle, in a small pot over an open fire, even in the microwave. You can add flavorings such as flower petals, spices, various oils, and dried fruits to those leaves before steeping. You can add sweeteners and flavorings to the tea in the cup once it’s steeped, from honey, agave nectar, sugar, and stevia, to lemon and some fresh mint leaves. Or you can keep it simple and pure, just you, your tastebuds, and the tea.
Nope, you just can’t go wrong with tea. And you aren’t boxed into one set way to enjoy it. Isn’t flexibility wonderful?
Oops! The kettle is boiling. Time to pour the water into the pot and get those tea leaves steeping!
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