Cup Of Tea?

Entry by: tinyfeet&bluebirds

23rd January 2015
She never used leaves

She was so particular about every detail.

Two teabags,
Only ever Darjeeling,
Seeped in boiling hot water.
In a teapot, of course,
Never in the cup,
So common a cup.
Milk first, semi-skimmed,
Delivered fresh to the doorstep,
It's silvery tops draped with frost.
Tea should always be added
Second. Its chemistry you know.
Sugar at the end,
The teaspoon perched
Like an elegant afterthought
On the Wedgwood saucer.

I don't think I ever saw her dunk
A biscuit, not a digestive
Or even a shortbread,
Rendered soft and buttery
By the hot milky brew.
Nor did she ever divert
From the preordained
Holy Grail of the West Bengali's
Musky, spiced, floral aroma.
The Yorkshire and Tetleys,
Earl Grey and Fruit tea
Were only for undiscerning

I travelled far from
Her ritual brew. To
Chai and Oolong, through
Maté and Genmaicha,
To Jasmine scented, light greens
And onwards. To red-hued,
Vanilla flavoured Rooibos leaves
And Chamomile tea
Sweetened with honey.
Yogi became my mantra
With spicy Sikh blends,
And Ayurvedic pretensions.
Then came the new Mecca
Of restorative home made herbal
Tisanes. Fresh rosemary or thyme
Plucked from the garden
And tenderly bruised before
Simmering gently.

I brewed in mug and cup
And bowl, I brewed with milk
Without, with lemon juice and
Mint leaves, cardamom seeds
And cinnamon sticks, and even,
Dare I say it, water that
Was not boiled.
I used strainers and muslin,
Fresh leaves, freeze dried and
Special triangular shaped bags.
I stood over pans that seeped
And even fermented to make my own
Kombucha. It's pale slippery mother
Like some alien jelly shaped life form
Floating on my kitchen counter.

I went far beyond my mothers teaching.
And yet, still, I remember every step without fail.
She never used leaves, not once that I remember.
It's always bothered me that. So much
Precision, so particular about every detail
But she never used leaves. Too much mess
She'd say with a shrug, even perfection
Has its measure.