Ah, tea. while some liken you to dirty water, and others think it is just dandy to call microwaved water by your name, you remain a source of calm and contentment for all who know you.
In my family, we put the kettle on whenever (and as often as) we can. A refusal of tea will be met with severely raised eyebrows. When I was little, my (exceptionally English) mother drank so much Tetley Orange Pekoe that my childish mind genuinely believed that Tetley Orange Pekoe was the only kind of tea and that anything else was an imitation or had some added flavouring, like candy cane hot chocolate is to hot chocolate. As it turns out, little me wasn’t too far off. I had the right idea, but the wrong ingredients. For the most part, what we call teas stem from the Camellia sinensis plant, with notable exceptions being chai, mate (matcha), and rooibos. The variations of the Camellia sinensis plant depend on the way humans interact with and process them, most black teas, for example, are oxidized, while green teas are steamed.
Regardless of whether you drink tea because it is practically a family heirloom, it is a way to get through that massive term paper, or because you love the health benefits, there is no denying that tea has taken root in modern cultures. Tea has become a medium for friends to reconnect, to get through cold nights, to overcome gut-wrenching breakups, and more.
Look, I get it. How do people get through university without coffee? I myself love a good caramel latte/corretto/macchiato. But coffee, the boisterous and often overbearing cousin of tea, lacks the ability to lower my heart rate and soothe my mind. Think tea is pretentious? You say it is too classy for you (as you pour your cold brew coffee from hand ground beans that you picked up from a local artisan)? I get that tea is the preferred warm beverage of classy adults like the Queen of England and Benedict Cumberbatch, but really all you need is a way to boil the water (you know, like a kettle) and your favourite leaves. Part of the beauty of tea is you can make it as fancy as you like by steeping with timers and thermometers and or you can trudge down to Carnation Rose because instant coffee tastes like a failed final exam and you just need a cup. Tea doesn’t judge.