Over the weekend I was fortunate to be invited to visit Sino Chai Teahouse & Restaurant for lunch (review to follow soon). At the end of lunch we were treated to a tea ceremony. This got me thinking – you see as well as loving coffee – and hence the name of my website, I also like tea and other hot drinks and have always treated myself to lovely teas, coffees and other hot beverages.
On holidays I’ve been fortunate to visit both tea and coffee plantations and seen how both are picked and harvested, cleaned and sorted graded and roasted etc. I’ve also brought back some beautiful tea and coffee which is sampled at home. It never quite tastes the same, but always brings back memories of the places I’ve been fortunate to visit.
For instance, Rooibos tea – takes me back to my trip to Africa when I spent three weeks touring Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, the Skeleton Coast and Cape Town in a big overland truck on a camping trip. I remember sitting next to the camp fire, with a cup of tea in my hand (often covered by my other hand to keep out the sand) whilst talking to fellow travellers about what we had seen and done that day and being briefed by our guide about what we were going to do the next day.
Masala Chai takes me back to India and in particular to my requests for milk tea which often came complete with a skin on top of the tea as often fresh milk is not used. Masala Chai memories take me back to beautiful quiet afternoons in the tranquility of Munnar, to the busy and hectic streets of Delhi and on many an overnight train journey with regular tea refills along the way.
In Indonesia last year I remember sipping the most beautiful ice cold Lombok coffee with ice-cream on the top, nearly choking on the dregs of some Bali coffee in the bottom of my glass in Jakarta through to drinking some instant Starbucks coffee which I had taken to drink on a 3 day river boat tour in Borneo – having declared the cheap coffee served on the boat as being undrinkable !
Whilst trekking in Morocco I remember being woken each morning by the cook, who had made us the sweetish mint tea I had ever tasted, but it was always welcome as it helped defrost us before starting our walk for the day. At the end of each evening just before retiring to our tents, he treated us to a welcome mug of hot chocolate, again served as sweet as sweet could be, but again so welcome.
In China, the tea seemed surreal, I remember sitting on an overnight train watching a wizened old Chinese lady who had a really bad cold – drinking a herbal sort of tea which frankly looked like sticks and grass from which she was drinking from what I can only describe as a large jam-jar with a lid. She kept topping this jar up all evening as she drank from it and our guide said that it was full of healing herbs – who knows – the old lady seemed to be taking comfort from it. Meanwhile I remember sipping english tea from some of the teabags and instant coffee packs I had taken from the UK – my little reminder of home and little luxury on our travel.
I remember being really proud at the age of ten or so and being the oldest child, as being able to make my first cup of tea for my mum on my own. Fulfulling this somewhat difficult task (as it seemed then) alone and with pride. Tea was also the drink we were served after having a car accident whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive (totally the wrong thing to do when you look back on it – but full of sugar and hot and sweet apparently it was good for shock !)
I also use different varities of teas to fix different things – eg – sore throat, ginger tea or masala chai. Upset stomach or nausea, peppermint tea. Need calming – camomile tea. Can’t sleep – Horlicks or Ovaltine (that takes me back to my childhood bedtime routine). Need cheering up and want a chocolate fix without the calories – instant hot chocolate in a whole variety of flavours.
You see, for me there’s a hot beverage suitable for almost all eventualities !
Now – I drink a whole variety of teas and coffees and often hunt down different blends and samples etc when I’m travelling. My tastes have matured and I like to sample tea and coffee in different places when I’m out and about. People who know me, buy me tea and coffee products as gifts too both from out and about and their travels. My little ‘obsession’ with gadgets has grown too – at the current count I have 3 different coffee machines, 4 cafetieres, 3 teapots, 1 milk kettle, a milk frother and a multitude of travel coffee mugs/coffee filters and strainers etc.
I’m also somewhat obsessed with coffee art hence the pictures on my profile as I love seeing how clever the baristas are with coffee art.
A quick look in my cupboard today in preparation for this little ‘declaration’ revealed quite a collection of various hot beverages (see my ‘guilty pleasure’ picture gallery below. So if you fancy a cup of … well, frankly anything – I’ve got most of it in stock (aka my cupboard)! My plea to you is that if you see me in the tea and coffee aisle in the supermarket please turn me around and send me on my way – I have enough stock to provide tea, coffee and hot beverage supplies for several small functions !
Coffee is my first drink of the day, tea is often my last and I sometimes feel like I run on pure caffeine! It fuels me, it fuels my workouts, it makes me feel good – it soothes when I don’t feel well, it reminds me of a time & a place when I think about my travels and I’ve spent many a happy hour catching up with pals over a hot cup of something.
So there you go, my guilty secret is out there – my name is BettybooDubai (LOL!) and I am a hot beverage addict !
And if you don’t believe me – just take a look below ……..