The Cup That Cheers

The first cup of tea should be perfect, to perfect the way through the day. Relished to refresh and drained to pleasure, tea has been a serious concern in many households. It is not simply a mix of tea, sugar or milk. But how much of tea, to what length of boiling time, in milk or water, with more spoons of sugar – yeah! Every detail matters.

“It should appeal to our eyes. Its aroma should woo our sense of smell, and bring a smile as the first sip plays with the taste buds. Every cell in our body should wake up with pleasure.” A senior member in the family described the tea as a “thing of beauty”.

The first time I was asked to make a cup of tea, my mother instructed me – “Boil water in a pan. Remove it from the gas stove. Add tea leaves/powder (a spoon for a cup) . Wait for 2-3 minutes to allow the tea to settle down. Strain the tea into the cup. Then add warm milk and sugar to taste. Ensure, the tea does not look very strong.” Those were my school days. The thought brings a smile.

Now, if someone asks me to make a cup of tea, I scan mentally to decide “which method to choose” – “hold the tea bag for just a minute” , “boil milk, water and double quantity of sugar, before adding tea leaves” or “boil water, add milk, sugar and continue boiling with the tea leaves.” There are many more ways to do it.

When it comes to the first cup of tea in the morning, we are willing to forgo health tips and advice, often. But if we stick to the rules of making tea, then we should brew the tea leaves without letting it stew. Also, we can take a check on the quantity of milk and sugar.

Of course, there is no dearth of information on “how to make perfect tea”. However, with time one realises the question of perfection is purely a sensuous bliss, which differs from individual to individual, and household to household. Be it any brand of tea, preference may be for an Indian masala chai or the English tea, the sheer need is to please the palate with a Good Morning!

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