Enduring the rigors of your day so that you can end it with a wonderful tasting tea (by the potful or even steeped gongfu style) is like getting that movie “pay-off.” So says this tea kettle philosopher. Time to put the kettle on and contemplate just what all this “pay-off” business is about.
Ever sit through a horrid movie that you’ve seen before so that you can get to that wonderful ending that you know is there, an ending that you liked so much? So have I. That ending is the “pay-off” and makes all the other crud worth enduring. It’s also why happy endings are strongly preferred by movie goers. You have to see the young couple struggling to be together and being kept apart by parties who were jealous or who thought they were “doing the right thing” for their daughter or son. You have to see the businessman fail before his success can really shine. It’s that struggle and conflict finally being resolved to the hero’s and/or heroine’s benefit that gives that “pay-off” — a rush of good feeling.
The “struggle” for the tea is quite similar. It can be a little struggle, such as when you have to rush to the store for some milk to have in your breakfast blend tea or when you can’t get that tea tin open and then the lid suddenly pops off and tea leaf pieces erupt from within and land all over the counter, floor, etc. It can be a big struggle, where you study about tea to learn its secrets and thus how best to enjoy it. Most of the time it’s a sort of medium struggle to get the water properly heated and then use the proper steeping time.
But it’s all worth it in the end. You get that tea “pay-off” that is just like the one in the movies — but possibly with less smooching. The good feeling comes from that hot tea warming the cup and your hands as you hold it.
Just like Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. (Fitzwilliam) Darcy who struggle through their own pride and prejudice, not to mention a wayward sister and other less-than-chivalrous characters, you will find that “pay-off” but in terms of tea flavor, not wedding bells. Just like Thomas Edison, who conducted countless experiments before coming up with the incandescent bulb design that actually worked, you will experiment with tea and get that “pay-off” of the perfect cuppa that fits your tastebuds.
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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