Despite being a “morning coffee” person today, when I was growing up all the adults around me drank tea. My earliest memories of my mom were of her sitting on the couch, reading books, smoking and drinking cup of tea after cup of tea. When my family got together I remember the adults sitting at the kitchen table in my grandmother’s home chain smoking cigarettes, drinking tea and talking. So my entire life tea (and quite frankly, cigarettes which is another story altogether) has been associated with my family, books, and hangouts. But even as an adult when I went home, my mom would make me a tea and it was automatically calming to me.
It wasn’t until high school that I started hanging out in cafés with friends as “going for a coffee” became the standard. Of course, this pre-dates Starbucks so we hit up a variety of local places that wouldn’t kick a bunch of teenagers out after they’ve nursed the same coffee for an hour. Some of my best memories are of sitting in Cafés, playing chess as my heart raced from all the caffeine I had consumed over the previous few hours. But as much as I love coffee, it doesn’t hold a special place in my heart like tea does.
Mr. Tucker has settled into an Earl-Grey-All-Day pattern whereby he drinks bucketloads of tea all afternoon and all evening. He used to switch to decaf in the evenings but has become so hardcore that he now drinks caffeinated and still falls asleep when his head hits the pillow. I definitely can’t do that. I am a much more varied tea drinker hitting up equal amounts of Yorkshire Gold & various herbal teas before switching to decaf Yorkshire* & Mint Green after dinner. The kids are also prolific tea drinkers with the Sprout enjoying Chocolate Chai, Pumpkin Chai and Faerie Blend (a fruity black from a local store). The Bean typically sticks to Earl Grey like her dad but drinks less tea overall than anyone else in the house. We like to make giant mugs of tea after dinner and play card or board games together.
Even though they both contain caffeine, coffee is about wakefulness and energy as tea is about soothing and calming. The two times I have needed tea – when I quit smoking and when I quit alcohol – it has been there for me, filling in the hole the previous thing left. Even now Mr. Tucker are astonished at how much tea we are drinking – but with no regrets. It’s the perfect pandemic beverage. We are getting a bargain: even a week’s worth of our fanciest favourite teas are still cheaper than one bottle of wine.
I’ll drink (tea) to that.
*The ONLY decaf worth drinking; it isn’t a watery mess.