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Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover's Soul [Excerpt]

Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover's Soul [Excerpt]

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
Is enjoying a cup of tea your favorite part of the day? Is the brewing of a “cuppa” a ritual that centers and calms you? If so, Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover’s Soul will help you reconnect with yourself in the silent intimacy and introspection experienced while sipping tea. It’s the perfect accompaniment to that English breakfast, delightful Darjeeling, French vanilla, spicy chai, or comforting chamomile.

Learn about tea’s ancient history and discover the many choices available, from the most exclusive to the tried-and-true favorites.

Included are tips on buying, storing, and preparing tea, and even a few ideas on how to host a tea party. You’ll also discover the best-tasting and most popular teas, the proper way to steep tea, the health benefits of tea, the difference between black and green teas, and much more.

Nothing soothes the soul like a cup of tea and a good book, so curl up and wash away the tensions and troubles of your day.
Is enjoying a cup of tea your favorite part of the day? Is the brewing of a “cuppa” a ritual that centers and calms you? If so, Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover’s Soul will help you reconnect with yourself in the silent intimacy and introspection experienced while sipping tea. It’s the perfect accompaniment to that English breakfast, delightful Darjeeling, French vanilla, spicy chai, or comforting chamomile.

Learn about tea’s ancient history and discover the many choices available, from the most exclusive to the tried-and-true favorites.

Included are tips on buying, storing, and preparing tea, and even a few ideas on how to host a tea party. You’ll also discover the best-tasting and most popular teas, the proper way to steep tea, the health benefits of tea, the difference between black and green teas, and much more.

Nothing soothes the soul like a cup of tea and a good book, so curl up and wash away the tensions and troubles of your day.

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on Feb 11, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/29/2013

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Tea for Three
Tea is a cup of life.
 Author Unknown
I
’m going to invite another woman to your baby shower,” my friend Candace told me. “Youdon’t have anything in common with her, but she lives just down the block and is pregnant, too.”“Fine,” I said, curious about this woman I would have nothing in common with except pregnancy. That seemed like enough. Everyone else in the neighborhood was working, and thedays were lonely.Jenny came to the shower. She was about six months behind me in her pregnancy and alsolonely at home all day. After the shower, we agreed to meet for tea. For as long as I canremember, a cup of tea has been my comforter, picker-upper, and calmer-downer. Whatever the problem, a cup of tea will take the edge off and allow me to go on.My tea dates with Jenny became almost daily rituals as we got to know each other andfound out how much we did have in common. We each had two older children—a boy and agirl—besides the ones we were expecting. She was a graduate of the college I was attending part-time, and we were both English majors. That meant books were a favorite topic of conversation and sharing.For many years, Jenny remained my tea-drinking buddy. As our friendship continued to blossom, we developed many more similar interests—all shared over a cup of tea. The tea wesipped during our pregnancies with my daughter, Cathy, and her son, Corey, led to cups of teashared as we sat in the shade of the elm tree in my backyard while the kids played in the sandboxand wading pool. We enjoyed a cup under her weeping willow as they climbed into its branches.In the winter, cups of tea warmed us as we watched the kids sledding down our steep driveway.The two seemed to have as much in common as we did. They shared the middle name Dale,enjoyed each other’s birthday parties, completed art projects together, and helped each other withhomework as Jenny and I drank tea and shared our lives.When Cathy and Corey were ten, Jenny announced her husband’s job was taking their family to another state. With heavy hearts, we packed their belongings into our pickup andhelped them move.Later, we shared a last cup of tea in their new home, and I drove back to mine wonderingwhen, where, or how I would ever find another tea buddy. Everyone else I knew was workingfull-time and didn’t have the time for or interest in tea.Jenny and I kept in touch with letters—real letters on stationery, not e-mails or textmessages. We would sit down with a cup of tea to write the letter and then later make a cup of tea to drink as we read the letter we got back. It wasn’t as good as meeting in person, but it keptus connected through good times and bad—our daughters’ weddings, my breast cancer, her husband’s illness, Corey’s near death from a home-invasion shooting that left him paralyzed, andmy Cathy’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I was grateful for the support I received from her, butI still longed for another woman on the other side of the teapot.Jenny had found a friend in her new community who shared tea with her. I was happy for her, but a little jealous. Then I moved to a new community, too. I met many nice people, but theyall drank coffee, and no one seemed to have the time or inclination to sit down and sip a leisurelycup of tea. One day after church, as everyone was sharing in coffee hour, I noticed a womanwiping off a dusty kettle, filling it with water, and setting it on the stove. I walked up to her.“I just felt like a cup of tea today,” she said. “Sometimes it hits the spot better than coffee.”“I know,” I said. “May I join you?”
 
 
Thus began my second satisfying tea relationship. Martha had so much in common withJenny, and therefore with me, that I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t only tea we shared. We all threeloved to shop at thrift stores, and reuse and recycle whatever we could. We were gardeners. Weall had children we had stayed home to raise. We now had adult married children. We loved books and reading.Martha and I never ran out of things to discuss over the teapot. I felt at home at her dining-room table as the steam from the tea mingled with our conversations. My tea-life would have been perfect if only Jenny and Martha could meet. But Jenny was still in Arizona, and we werestill in Colorado.Then Jenny came for a visit. She agreed to come with me to church and the potluck afterward. Finally, Jenny and Martha met, and the tea-threesome was complete. I couldn’timagine anything more fun than sharing tea with the two of them and watching them learn toappreciate each other as I appreciate each of them. Tea for two is fine, but tea for three iswonderful.
 Jean Campion
 How to Brew a Great cup of Tea
 
The best way to brew black or oolong tea is to use fresh, cold water that has just startedto boil. Green tea should be brewed with water that has not yet come to a full boil (or water thathas boiled, and then been set aside and cooled for a few minutes). Reheated water gives tea a flattaste, so always use fresh water. Don’t let the water boil more than a few seconds. If you boil ittoo long, it loses its oxygen and makes the tea taste bitter.Use one teaspoonful of loose tea or one tea bag per cup. If you like your tea weaker or stronger, adjust that ratio. Pour the “just-boiling” water over the tea.Brew the tea 3-5 minutes. Don’t judge the strength of tea by its color. It takes 3-5minutes for the tea leaves to unfold and release their flavor.Sugar, honey, or sweetener bring out the flavor of flavored teas. The English use milk intheir tea. Some people enjoy cream or half-and-half. In Malaysia and other Asian countries,sweetened condensed milk is used liberally in tea for a rich dessert-like beverage. Heavy creamcan mask the flavor of the tea.To make a whole pot of tea for guests, fill a decorative teapot with hot tap water to warmit while your water is coming to a boil on the stove. Then pour the hot water out of the pot andreplace it with the just-boiling water. Add loose tea to the pot, one teaspoon per cup, and let itfloat around the pot for 3-5 minutes. Then pour the tea through a strainer right into the cups of your guests. Decorative tea strainers can sit right on top of a cup. If the tea is kept in the water too long, it will become bitter, so if you plan to make a large pot to last during a tea party, use tea bags so they can be removed easily after brewing.

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