Tea With A Straw! | Flash Post 425
Button, I can see the blank look on your face.
What does TEA WITH A STRAW even mean?
I knew you’d ask but have some patience and you’ll know what it means.
One of my earliest memories is about going along with my father to a grocery store in the neighbourhood to buy tea. He would check out different kinds of tea leaves, mix 2 or 3 different varieties and get the store-keeper to pack 100 gms in a tiny brown paper bag. Mind you, my mother never made tea when he was around. He would steep the tea leaves in boiling hot water and let it soak till it was time to pour out the clear liquid into cups before adding the milk and the sugar.
But I notice you use teabags!
So here’s the story about teabags. They were invented in 1908 by a New York merchant by the name of Thomas Sullivan accidentally. Sullivan sent samples of tea to his customers in silk teabags and they assumed that both the tea and the bag should be put in the pot. It worked surprisingly well and the teabag was born. But teabags came to India much later and what we have now are not just teabags with regular tea from the tea gardens in Darjeeling, Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Munnar, but also green tea, white tea, purple tea as well as herbal infusions.
I’ve seen the bhelpuriwala outside selling tea in little styrofoam glasses which couldn’t be holding any sizeable quantity. Yet, I’ve watched pedestrians flock around him in droves to drink that tea.
Those are roadside tea sellers who boil tea leaves, water, milk, sugar and masalas—cardamoms to be precise—for hours to make a concoction that’s thick and extremely sweet but you’d never find tea connoisseurs cooking tea. Do you know that the vessel used to cook the tea that’s sold in roadside stalls is hardly ever washed! The layer upon layer upon layer of cooking tea in the same vessel for years gives that tea it’s distinct taste and flavour.
Are you serious? Have you tried it?
I did but almost choked because I found it too sweet.
I love the coffee didi makes at home, especially the Teddy Roosevelt instant.
Tea is mostly sipped from a cup. It’s slurped. I have watched my mother-in-law pour the hot liquid into a saucer and whoosh it up. When we asked her the reason for pouring the tea into the saucer, her response was that she liked it hot but didn’t feel the need to sip it leisurely when she could drink it instantly.
Have you drunk tea from a saucer?
Never tried it because I am not sure I’d be able to slurp the tea off the saucer without spilling it all over me. Now coming to the drink of your choice, Button, people in the South pour the steaming hot coffee after boiling instant coffee powder with very little water, mostly milk and lots of sugar into stainless steel glasses and then into another steel bowl from a height so everything comes together perfectly. That transfer from glass to bowl and back into the glass a few times is an art because not a drop is spilt. The bowl is then handed over to the customer with the glass of coffee sitting in it. You can either sip or slurp it from the glass or pour the coffee a little at a time into the bowl and sip or slurp it. The choice is yours.
But that title!
A few days back I found Dost sipping the hot drink through a straw!
Because he wanted to try out something new, obviously!