Posted by: gdevi | November 1, 2015

Tea and Coffee

Mornings, after we woke up, the first thing mother and I would do in the kitchen would be to boil water on the gas stove for coffee and tea. We always made both. Two tall stainless steel decanters; into one, four tablespoons of coffee powder, and, in the other, four tablespoons of tea leaves. Then you pour the scalding hot water into both containers, stir once to mix the contents, close the decanters with tight fitting lids, and let them sit for about ten or fifteen minutes.

Milk should always be boiled as well. Milk will boil and rise in the saucepan spreading its sweet aroma throughout the kitchen. Quarter cup of thick hot boiling milk in each cup; add about three fourth cup of the strained hot decoction coffee. Add one to two tablespoons of sugar. Froth the coffee by pouring it from one cup to another a few times. You make tea the same way: quarter cup of hot milk; add the hot tea infusion to desired strength. Add sugar. Froth by pouring back and forth between two cups.

If you had indigestion or any kind of abdominal ailment, you would pound some ginger root and cardamom and add it to hot black tea. It settles your stomach. If you are running a fever and your nose is stuffy with common cold, you add crushed black pepper and molasses to black coffee. The stuffy nose goes away instantly. Hot strong black tea and black coffee have medicinal properties.

Flavored tea is an acquired taste. Blackberry, vanilla, mango, peach, orange, chamomile . . .

Flavored tea is not the tea of the morning. It is not the tea of mid-morning or mid-afternoon. It is not the 5 o’clock tea.

Flavored tea is the filler tea. Flavored tea is more flavored than hot water, used mostly to quench workplace thirst. Its weak, fruity aroma and taste do not crack open the morning. It does not throw open the window to the end of a long working day like a cup of hot 5pm tea does in India. I am still working on acquiring the flavored tea taste.

Isn’t it funny how something like the taste of tea and coffee becomes part of your DNA? I make tea and coffee like we do in India. i do this as soon as I wake up in the morning, long before anyone else. I do this as soon as I get back from work. To me, fresh hot coffee or tea mark the end and beginning of my day. Tea and coffee in India tell time.

Dark roast Louisiana chicory coffee and scalding hot half and half. Today, I ran out of both in the morning. When I went to check in the pantry, I saw the flavored tea bags, and for a moment, I felt this incredible disappointment weigh me down. The flavored tea bags would never do. I never feel any kind of panic for an empty refrigerator–the absence of eggs, meat, vegetables, fish etc don’t bother me as much. But something about no half and half and no real coffee or real tea sinks my spirit. I measure sunrise and sunset with hot tea or hot coffee.  The absence of either would feel like meaningless duration to me.

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