Tea and Contemplation

Making the tea helps my thoughts to flow

The ritual of making tea always punctuates the flow of my day.  I meander to the kitchen between words.  Making the tea helps my thoughts to flood out.  Builder’s tea is my preference, but a friend challenged me to try something more refined. Thus, we went to Bath in search of tea and Jane Austen.

Bath Market has a wonderful array of teas.  The selections are stored in jars like a sweetshop, but woe betide you if you venture to pick up the jars.  The assistant will guide you through the tea sniffing journey.

Selections are stored in jars like a sweetshop

I noted the different textures of the tea leaves: some leaves are larger and crisp while others are smaller and smoother.  It was all rather overwhelming to learn selecting tea can be an art form.

I was forced to make my selection on the scent rather than the taste.  I pontificated for some time.  It had to be Lapsang Souchong, because I liked the sound of the words.  It is a black tea, and the aroma of the tea leaves is beautifully smoky.  The assistant said, ‘It is packed full of antioxidants and supports well-being.’ The tea sounded like a medicine delivered by a therapist.  Apparently, ‘ this tea strengthens the immune system, prevents cardiovascular diseases and fights inflammation.’ Moreover, the Lapsan Souchong can assist with a hangover. What more could one ask for?

Which tea would you choose?

My selection was carefully wrapped in a parcel, labelled and presented to me. I couldn’t wait to try the tea at home. Initially, the tea was smoky with a hint of disinfectant.  However, as the tea reached room temperature, the taste was pleasantly smoky and quite soothing.  As I drank the tea, I decided to write this blog post.

According to Lin Yutang, ‘There’s something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.’ And this seemed to work for me after the taste of the disinfectant had subsided.

I did meet with Jane Austen on another trip to Bath. On this occasion, I heard whispers as I strolled past the Royal Bath Crescent. A woman’s voice confided:

‘But indeed, I would rather have nothing but tea.’
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

I prefer builder’s tea

Perhaps, the esteemed Miss Austen visited one of the grand houses to take tea with the lady of the house.  However, I suspect tea making was also a glorious, thought-provoking ritual for Jane Austen.

Let me know what you think of speciality teas. Do you prefer a robust builder’s tea or a speciality tea? Is coffee the only fuel for your words?


Please see all my adventures at Handbag Adventures and my website and blog at JessieCahalin.com.


17 thoughts on “Tea and Contemplation”

  1. I used to drink strawberry and chocolate flavored black tea from David’s Tea, but unfortunately I can only drink tea on rare occasions because caffeine makes me jittery. I just loved visiting Bath! It’s one of my favourite places in the UK.

    1. I make the speciality teas very weak so not much caffeine. I am now drinking it to cut down on the caffeine intake. See my method in previous post. I have never heard of chocolate tea. You should visit Bath again.

  2. I really like tea a lot especially when I’m writing [so I LOVE that mug!] but I never venture outside of black tea and herbal like chamomile and lavender. I wouldn’t know what to do with so many options 🙂

    1. Simply take a pinch of the tea leaves, place them in the tea strainer and pour the water into the cup. Remove the tea strainer and tea leaves – the tea is ready. This is my method! The tea is weak but refreshing. Alternatively, you can add the leaves to the tea pot and strain through the tea strainer if you have more people.

  3. Another great post! Glad to see real tea leaves and a strainer. Just to let you know that Dot – one of the main characters in my WIP – drinks Lapsang Souchong.

    1. I do try! The thirties tea set was wedding present from our elderly landlady, Esmee, many moons ago. She presented it in a cardboard box and wrapped it in newspaper. I think of her whenever we use the tea set. As she said, the teapot is a ‘great pourer’. I wonder if Dot and Esmee would have been friends?

    1. The aroma of coffee is so comforting. I can drink black coffee if there is no milk. We used to have a market stall in Cardiff Market where they sold various coffee beans – delicious.

    2. The aroma is comforting and signals the start of a new day but tea refreshes. I can drink black coffee if we are out of milk.

  4. I’m a big fan of Lapsang Souchong, but as I am an avid tea drinker I always have at least four different types of tea at home. A good Earl Grey is a staple, as is a black tea scented with rose-petals, lime and red pepper corns. Plus I always have a green tea, usually one with a mild flavour of cherry blossom. I never drink coffee. Never. And I always drink my tea black which is why builder’s tea can be a bit too strong for my taste 🙂

    1. You sound like a very sophisticated tea drinker and should visit Bath. I drink coffee, speciality teas and builder’s tea. I also drink honey and lemon. It is great to vary the drinks, but it is still builder’s tea for me. Love a good Yorkshire brew – once a Yorkshire lass, always…

  5. Truly a delicate and flavored post, Jessie!And a tricky question for me, “Do you prefer a robust builder’s tea or a speciality tea? Is coffee the only fuel for your words?”
    I grew up with tea infusions, yet now I only drink tea if I am sick. If in the morning, as I stand by my kettle, I realize I cannot palate a cup of coffee, then I know I am coming down with something. Luckily, it only happens once a year!
    Occasionally, I do enjoy a cup of tea; perhaps not the fruity kind, but the old school, leafy type. No sugar or lemon and no milk.
    Still, coffee fuels my words, Jessie. But I would never say no to sharing a cuppa with you! xx

    1. Such lovely words to wake up to, on a Monday morning. And to think – these words are coffee fuelled. Confession Time: I am drinking filter coffee as I respond to you and send love across the miles. You brighten my day!

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