Comfort is a complex idea; it evokes childhood memories, a feeling of safely and warmth. Anyone who started drinking tea when they were young , or anyone who lives in a cold climate, knows the soothing warmth of a hot beverage.
When you spend months of the year with freezing fingers, your nose is always cold, and you need something to shake the chill off your bones when the damp sets in...it's fairly likely your associations with tea are nurturing. Who doesn't love the sight of hot steam rising into the cold morning air?
The flip side of tea is refreshment. Because not only can tea be iced, it can contain mint! Mint, that great refresher, along with lemon and cucumber, can slake thirst like nobody's business and pick you up out of the doldrums of summer heat. Mint, which, combined with quenching green tea is the perfect cooling beverage (consumed at scalding temperatures) of Morocco. It also happens to be my favourite tea; or at least, the one I consume the most.
In the winter, the heat of the tea soothes, in summer, the coolness of mint refreshes, the caffeine rouses, and the whole experience makes you feel good about the day.
There just aren't that many things that can do both things so well; comfort and soothe, brighten and refresh. Sometimes tea does all of it at once, and our lives are all the better for it. Here's to the most versatile beverage in the world!
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The first time I tried chai was in the kitchen of my parent’s house, and served by my younger sister. “You have to taste this—” she insisted, pushing a mug across the countertop to me. She refused to elaborate on its contents. The flavors, she said, would speak for themselves.
The quality of water affects the taste of your tea; this is beyond dispute. The relative quantities of mineral salts, oxygen and trace elements determine the relative "liveliness" or "flatness" of a particular cup. To that simple substance we add the basic flavor of the leaf itself or an herbal substitute.