Saturday, December 21, 2013
When you see the natural and almost universal craving in English sick for their tea, you cannot but feel that nature knows what she is about. There is nothing yet discovered which is a substitute to the English patient for his or her cup of tea.
Meanwhile, let is have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.
(from The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura)
In any time that he could accurately remember, there had never been quite enough to eat, one had never had socks or underclothes that were not full of holes, furniture had always been battered and rickety, rooms underheated, tube trains crowded, houses falling to pieces, bread dark-coloured, tea a rarity, coffee filthy-tasting, cigarettes insufficient -- nothing cheap and plentiful except synthetic gin.
(from 1984, by George Orwell)
I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones.
(from A Nice Cup of Tea, by George Orwell)
Several circumstances occurred immediately after this fit of Wyatt which contributed to heighten the curiosity with which I was already possessed. Among other things, this: I had been nervous- drank too much strong green tea, and slept ill at night-in fact, for two nights I could not be properly said to sleep at all....There was nothing in this, however, to make him sob. I repeat, therefore, that it must have been simply a freak of my own fancy, distempered by good Captain Hardy's green tea.
(from The Oblong Box, by Edgar Allan Poe)
Our trouble is that we drink too much tea. I see in this the slow revenge of the Orient, which has diverted the Yellow River down our throats.
Be not surprised if, after your friends are seated at the table, the style of the conversation depends very much on the kind of tea that the housewife pours for the guests. If it be genuine Young Hyson, the leaves of which are gathered early in the season, the talk will be fresh, and spirited, and sunshiny. If it be what the Chinese call Pearl tea, but our merchants have named Gunpowder, the conversation will be explosive, and somebody's reputation will be killed before you get through. If it be green tea, prepared by large infusion of Prussian blue and gypsum, or black tea mixed with pulverized black lead, you may expect there will be a poisonous effect in the conversation and the moral health damaged. The English Parliament found that there had come into that country two million pounds of what the merchants call "lie tea," and, as far as I can estimate, about the same amount has been imported into the United States; and when the housewife pours into the cups of her guests a decoction of this "lie tea," the group are sure to fall to talking about their neighbors, and misrepresenting everything they touch. One meeting of a "sewing society" up in Canada, where this tea was served, resulted in two law-suits for slander, four black eyes that were not originally of that color, the expulsion of the minister, and the abrupt removal from the top of the sexton's head of all capillary adornment.
But on our tea-table we will have first-rate Ningyong, or Pouchong, or Souchong, or Oolong, so that the conversation may be pure and healthy.
(from Around The Tea-Table, by T. De Witt Talmage)
Why do they always put mud into coffee on board steamers? Why does the tea generally taste of boiled boots? Why is the milk scarce and thin? And why do they have those bleeding legs of boiled mutton for dinner? I ask why? In the steamers of other nations you are well fed. Is it impossible that Britannia, who confessedly rules the waves, should attend to the victuals a little, and that meat should be well cooked under a Union Jack? I just put in this question, this most interesting question, in a momentous parenthesis, and resume the tale.
(from The Christmas Books of Mr. M. A. Titmarsh, by William Makepeace Thackeray)
Tea Quotations 2
Here are some of the tea quotes we've featured at TGS.
The Americans are all mystified about why the English make such a big thing out of tea because most Americans have never had a good cup of tea.
'Do you want an adventure now,' Peter said casually to John, 'or would you like to have your tea first?'
Wendy said, 'Tea first, quickly.'
(from Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie)
What is the Latin for Tea? What! Is there no Latin word for Tea? Upon my soul, if I had known that I would have let the vulgar stuff alone.
(from On Nothing & Kindred Subjects, by Hillaire Belloc)
All is arranged in this Cult with the precision of an ancient creed. The matter of the Sacrifice must come from China. He that would drink Indian Tea would smoke hay. The Pot must be of metal, and the metal must be a white metal, not gold or iron. Who has not known the acidity and paucity of Tea from a silver-gilt or golden spout? The Pot must first be warmed by pouring in a little boiling water (the word boiling should always be underlined); then the water is poured away and a few words are said. Then the Tea is put in and unrolls and spreads in the steam. Then, in due order, on these expanding leaves Boiling Water is largely poured and the god arises, worthy of continual but evil praise and of the thanks of the vicious, a Deity for the moment deceitfully kindly to men. Under his influence the whole mind receives a sharp vision of power.
(from On Nothing & Kindred Subjects, by Hillaire Belloc)
When I do dine, I gorge like an Arab or a Boa snake, on fish and vegetables, but no meat. I am always better, however, on my tea and biscuit than any other regimen, and even that sparingly.
(George Gordon, Lord Byron)
Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally of coarse nerves, or are become so from wine drinking, and are not susceptible of influence from so refined a stimulant, will always be the favorite beverage of the intellectual; and for my part, I would have joined Dr. Johnson in a bellum internecinum against Jonas Hanway, or any other impious person who should presume to disparage it.
Could all the Temperance Societies of these later days, united, give me such a tea-drinking as I have had through the means of yonder little set of blue crockery, which really would hold liquid (it ran out of the small wooden cask, I recollect, and tasted of matches), and which made tea, nectar. And if the two legs of the ineffectual little sugar-tongs did tumble over one another, and want purpose, like Punch’s hands, what does it matter? And if I did once shriek out, as a poisoned child, and strike the fashionable company with consternation, by reason of having drunk a little teaspoon, inadvertently dissolved in too hot tea, I was never the worse for it, except by a powder!
(from A Christmas Tree, by Charles Dickens)
Those that use it are for that reason, alone, exempt from all maladies and reach an extreme old age.
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and a tea.
(from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot)
'A cup of tea!' Is there a phrase in our language more eloquently significant of physical and mental refreshment, more expressive of remission of toil and restful relaxation, or so rich in associations with the comforts and serenity of home life, and also with unpretentious, informal, social intercourse?
(from Tea Leaves, by Francis Leggett & Co.)
The trouble with tea is that originally it was quite a good drink. So a group of the most eminent British scientists put their heads together, and made complicated biological experiments to find a way of spoiling it. To the eternal glory of British science their labour bore fruit.
(from How To Be an Alien, by George Mikes)
The Breville One-Touch Tea Maker
Saturday, December 14, 2013
The Empire of Tea:The Remarkable History of the Plant That Took Over the World
by Alan MacFarlane & Iris MacFarlane
You know you've read too many books on tea history when you find yourself getting weary of that quaint little myth about tea's origin. You know the one - the Chinese emperor who just happened to be boiling water...outside. A few tea leaves just happen to blow off of a conveniently located tree and land in the water. The emperor drinks it and oila, thousands of years later everyone's got their drawers in a pinch about how good this stuff is for you.
The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide
by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss
In the two years I've been publishing a Web site about tea I've learned enough about it to make me realize that I really don't know much about it. Which is a roundabout way of saying that tea is a vast subject. This point was driven home recently when I read The Story of Tea, by Mary Lou and Robert Heiss. As "A Cultural History and Drinking Guide," it's got to rank right up there with the best of them. But there's really no way that such a work can do much more than scratch the surface of this topic.
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Really Strange Teamakers
By William I. Lengeman III
If you’ve spent any time at this site you might have noticed that the topic of tea gadgets comes up now and again. If you’ve never noticed or you’re new to the site, be sure to look here for more gadget-related goodness.
One tea gadget that seems to pop up often is the tea maker. Nowadays these tend to be sleek, high-tech and so automated that they’ll do everything but bring the tea from the kitchen to wherever you happen to be. But there have been plenty of more low-tech versions of the automatic teamaker over the years. British tea drinkers may recall (or still use) a gadget known as a Teasmade, among other things. I wrote about these a while back and my Esteemed Editor tackled the issue of “imitation” Teasmades more recently.