An Ode to Tea

Like a Warm Hug on a Cold Day

Photo Elisa Barbier

The only consistent brew in my life has been tea.

Unlike my volatile fling with coffee, tea continually permeates my daily life.

Looking back, my everyday life was marked by the process of making tea, the aroma, and flavour of an era, and the weight of my reusable to-go mug in my hand. While to some, music can bring back memories so sharply it is almost cruel; I contemplate my life in terms of the tea I drank.

I love it for its banality. Sure, I have jumped aboard the carefully marketed train of certain brands. I spent a lot of money chasing the magical thrill I was promised. Became acquainted with the local employees of David’s Tea. Ultimately, I got bored. I craved the stability that simple teas provided me. No glitter, no pieces of fruit, no nuts, no chocolate, and no candy floss flavour. Not to say that they are not complex, but my teas of preference are not dressed up. They don’t cry out for attention.

Tea has been my ally throughout a 10th grade silent protest against a contemptuous teacher. Morning after morning, without fail, after settling down into my seat, I would crack open my sturdy tumbler for a first glorious sip. It was a season of strong black tea, brewed early in the morning. I drank it boiling hot; battling the winter’s grim.

In a school where self-expression and autonomy were discouraged (and caffeinated drinks unauthorised), drinking tea on its grounds was an act of rebellion I could afford, a daily unlawful ritual I couldn’t really get punished for, but which granted me a shadow of agency. Tea became structural in a way that I reached for it systematically, never letting me down.

I embrace endlessly peppermint herbal infusions, and the green and black teas that have always been solid and loyal to me. After a few years of putting it aside, I bought a kilogram of yerba mate, hauled it back to my apartment and made a fresh, delightful pot. Each sip the rekindling of my bond with my father’s country, a relationship I so ardently crave. Each sip past, future and present.