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  • Writer's pictureNancy, Hostess of Cup & Crown

What Tea Will It Be Today?

With so many brands, blends, and flavours, how do you choose?

After a good morning kiss from my husband, we head downstairs before the kiddos awake and punch a hole in the quiet we enjoy for these few moments. We start pulling out the fruit, the oatmeal, the yogurt - our usual routine. But then he throws me off completely with this question: "Are you having tea this morning?"

Ummm... what did he just ask me?

He smiles at me with a sarcastic glean in his eyes to let me know he's kidding. He must have been, or I need to rush him to the hospital to be examined for severe head trauma.

"The question," I retort with pretend conceit, "is not IF I'm having tea, but WHICH tea will I be having this morning." I'd have said that in my best Queen Elizabeth accent, but it would have only gotten me an eye roll.

I know there are scads of tea lovers out there. But am I the only one who frequently goes to bed thinking about and looking forward to my morning cuppa?

Morning is my favorite time of the day. Not because of tea - though that's part of it. I've always been a morning person, trying to knock-out most of my tasks and errand-running before lunch. So it should follow that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Whatever I choose to break my fast, tea will be part of it.

With food first prepared, it's then time to "get my Brit on". As I listen for the kettle to whistle that the water has boiled (because no self-respecting tea drinker microwaves their tea), I go to the kitchen cabinet to view my selection. Let me paint a picture of that for you: two kitchen cabinet doors open to reveal six full shelves housing most (not all, just most) of my teas, decorative tea tins, stirring spoons, steeping bags and an assortment of infusers... shall I continue?

There's Orange Pekoe, Kenya Milima, Monk's Blend, Green Apricot, Creme de la Earl Grey, Ceylon, White Blueberry, Golden Monkey, Black Dragon Pearls, Royal Palace Tea... all loose-leaf, all delicious, and all making my decision very difficult.

"An indication that this passion for tea is no passing fad is the increasing variety and availability of excellent quality tea..."

In today's market, there are an abundance of tea flavours, brands, and blends as tea-drinking has become more mainstream all over the world. "An indication that this passion for tea is no passing fad is the increasing variety and availability of excellent quality tea," writes enthusiast and expert Linda Gaylard, author of The Tea Book published by DK Publishing. "Walk into any supermarket and you will find a diverse selection of loose-leaf tea... One doesn't have to travel very far in most cities to find a teashop that is well stocked with tea from the far corners of the globe... Unique and exotic teas are entering our everyday consciousness and all the signs tell us this tea trend is continuing to grow."

The United States is certainly not exempt to this increased interest in tea and especially to British-style tea parties. I, personally, think much of that has to do with the popularity of the hit series (and my personal fave) Downton Abbey. I ask you: who wouldn't fall in love with the idea of having tea in a garden, served from a polished silver tea pot into delicate floral teacups, with dainty sandwiches and fruity scones, all atop a crisp white linen tablecloth... and a castle in the background? (You D.A. fans know the scene I refer to from Season One!)

I asked earlier if I'm the only tea-lover around who starts thinking the night before about the next morning's tea. Apparently, I'm not. So to those of you who think like me, I say, "Cheers! And enjoy your cuppa!" Whichever one you choose!

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