The Fuss About A Good Cup Of Tea Is…

18 May

that it’s presumptuously and unapologetically fussy.

Each of us tea lovers likes our cup of tea to be a certain way, and that itself makes it all the more elite, you know?

Tepidophobia, they call it. The fear of a badly made cup of tea – tepid, insipid, vanilla (adj.), bland, lacking in character, lack lustre, tasteless, frail…the possibilities of a bad cup of tea really do not even need to stray to more drastic disasters like split milk or salt mistaken for sugar. It’s just that easy to ruin a good cup of tea, especially when you really need that perfect cup of tea, isn’t it?

One of my worst tea disasters was at the chosen time when I was trying to show how well-versed I was in the art of making this good old evening bevvy for none other than my grandmother, who fate had decided, was to scald her memory with this horrific incident. And how wrong I was proven to be. Of course it had to be the sneaky traitor of a tea bag, which made the end result a bubbling mess of what looked too white, thick and distasteful to explain. It’s a gamble, and one that I lost so miserably to my aghast nani who lamented about the fact that her granddaughter had no kitchen skills whatsoever. After all, tea is one of those things a lot of us prides ourself in making…it’s that primary license to pass right through the golden and previously well guarded gates of a mother’s territory – her kitchen; a test that helps said mother and her supporting society to decide whether you need more time outside them or if you’ve sailed through with the flying colours one needs to see and feel in their cup of tea. It makes me laugh, actually. But the world has its way when it comes to these sort of scenarios, and is especially generous with its meanness when you’re in the spotlight of said kitchen matters or trying to showcase your skills and confidence particularly.

Needless to say, mine wasn’t very different. And many cups of tea later, I still haven’t really mastered it to perfection. Far from actually, especially given that I’m stuck at remembering just how the various members of my family and my friends like their bevvy, to begin with. My mom likes hers well-brewed, less milky and prefers to have hers warm than hot, while my brother likes the consistency of his brew to be that perfect balance of milk and water so that the end result doesn’t betray a paucity of milk in the house, nor ends up being a chai milk pudding. One aunt likes it milky, one likes it strong but not too straight up or selfish with milk. One doesn’t like ginger and someone else prefers a different brand of tea leaves altogether. Some don’t like any add-ons including sugar and some think I’m being selfish with the sugar and often come running back for an additional helping of sugah, accompanied with an accusatory eye if the victim is a brother (haha!). Some are forgiving of honey, some intolerant. A small group is okay with green tea while the others don’t consider green tea tea, you know? It’s always an art to give everyone this simple yet high-maintenance beverage, don’t you think?

And just like my family and friends, I’ve my own brouhaha about the entire affair – a storm in a teacup if I may say so. When it comes to dip tea, I cannot understand it being made with anything less than water that’s just about to reach boiling point and just a few drops of milk enough to make it look like tea, smell like tea and not end up becoming that milky fake tea drink we were fed as kids when one of us was ill. Once the brew has settled in completely and shaken hands with those few drops of milk, I like to rest it and drink it at a temperature that’s between mildly hot to very warm just so I can savour my drink. And I can never have mine without an accompaniment which is usually two Parle G biscuits or a slice of sponge cake when I’m feeling more indulgent. Besides, what I have it in, is paramount, especially when I’m at home. A beautiful mug, home to a refreshing cup of tasty tea which looks a certain way and which rarely arrives by itself, is a sure shot to happiness and complete satisfaction. It’s a one-sitting consumption affair which does not allow the thought of re-heating to even exist.


I guess everything lovely calls for it to be fussy, unapologetic, as close to perfection as possible and royal in every way. Tea is poetry and poetry can be as snobbish as simple, if treated right.


I wish we’d apply that to ourselves as well. Fabulous doesn’t need explaining or rules to be broken where it’s concerned, no?



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