As my English grandmother always used to say (she who taught my sister and me how to prepare the perfect pot of tea), a cuppa tea puts the world to right. Indeed it does. I begin my day with a cup (made in my English clay teapot) of Assam, Darjeeling, or Twinings English Breakfast–with milk and sugar, of course, and made from loose tea, not teabags. Nothing is more certain than that I will have my morning cup of tea.
So, across my desk (actually sent to Keir Graff, Booklist Online Senior Editor, who passed it onto the tea guru: me) came a promotion sheet about Bag Ladies Tea (a specialty tea company, I learned) and a box of teabags, called Novel Teas. Upon investigation, I discovered that each teabag has a tag with a quote about books. Get it? The close connection between books and tea drinking, curling up with both. (And with a cat nearby–but that’s another post.) Here are some of the quotes: “Books may well be the only true magic” (Alice Hoffman); “Wear the old coat and buy the new book” (William Phelps); “Never judge a book by its movie” (J. W. Eagan); and “You can’t get a cup ot tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me ” (C. S. Lewis).
Curious but skeptical (remember, I am a devotee of loose tea), I grabbed a mug from my desk and made a cup. Aroma? Wow, nice. Color? Yes, quickly deepening into the rich golden brown of good Indian tea (which I prefer over Chinese and African). With sugar and milk from the staff lounge, I was ready to drink.
Very good, very tasty. Strong but not bitter, which is the essence of a good cup of Indian tea. I settled back and read more quotes, and then went online to learn more about Bag Ladies Tea. Apparently, Novel Teas is just one of several thematic presentations of English Breakfast tea–ah-ha, I knew it was English Breakfast, I could tell right away–that the company produces. Others include “Girlfriends,” Happy Birthday,” and “Oh, Baby” (for new mothers), all tagged with entertaining quotes.
So, I concluded that you come for the quotes, and you stay for the tea.
Happy reading and sipping.