“Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”
I remember the first time I realised the power of tea. I was thirteen and feeling sad. I made myself a cup of tea, sat down at the kitchen table and slowly sipped on it. As the hot liquid made its way to my stomach, something happened: I felt comforted; I felt calmed; I realised that maybe things weren’t so bad after all.
It is undeniable that tea has, for many people, the power to do a vast number of things. In the words of William Ewart Gladstone:
“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”
We drink tea when are tired and need to wake up; when we are over-excited and need to calm down; and when we are in shock (with lots of sugar, of course). We drink tea when we are cold and need to warm up (there are few things as comforting as hands wrapped around a large mug of tea, sitting by the fire, wrapped up warm); and when we are hot and need to cool down (can anyone scientific explain this to me?). Tea can quench thirst, settle a nervous tummy, soothe weary limbs and lighten a heavy heart.
When a friend asks for advice or wants to talk about something important, an appropriate response is ‘let me just put the kettle on’. And ‘a cup of tea and a natter’ is the perfect way to catch up with friends. Numerous tea advertisements over the years have been spot on in their claims that tea ‘gets you back to you’ (Twinings) and that we should ‘make time, make Tetley’ and ‘do your bit – put the kettle on’ (PG Tips).
For me, it’s not really about the caffeine. I’ll start the day with a caffeinated tea (which is possibly just a psychological thing anyway) but after that I’ll happily drink de-caf all day. There really is just something about the power of tea, to which nothing else can come close.
Now, I think I’ll go and pop the kettle on…