Archive for January, 2011

A, B, C, TEA!

Posted: January 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

I love tea! That is a statement in finality as far as my favorite stimulants go. I grew up with porridge and all manner of soups. My mother always said tea and coffee were “adult beverages” as my system was not, in her words, strong enough to withstand the effects of these brews. And so when I was old enough in my mother’s eyes and first partook of the freshly ground coffee beans, I was bewitched! I not only grew to love it, I respected its ability to jolt me back to life and keep me awake when it mattered. Coffee has been my faithful companion through hours of serious and frantic writing episodes that would have flopped otherwise.

However, I bumped into material online that suggested too much coffee was bad for one’s health and I was so shocked that I purposed to cut down; not abandon it completely, just cut down. That has not been easy. I’ve had to make do with juice most days and an occasional cup of tea if only to just calm my often times edgy nerves. And tea is no exception when it comes to stimulants. For me it is a milder version of coffee, in its effects at least. It can knock off any grogginess and get me pumped up in no time. And our tea-girl at the office understands the art of tea-brewing to a tee. Now this girl is always punctual, breezily checking into the office thermos flasks in trolley and a paper-bag full of goodies. I find myself smiling every time she walks in; it’s always an exciting moment. Soon as she walks in almost everyone shoots up obviously eager to find out what she is carrying in her paper bag. Talks of “nifungie mbili” (Pack two for me) and “mbona leo mandazi ni ndogo?” (How come the mandazi is small today) fill up the room. Then, there is a bit of shuffling intercepted by sharp sounds of lips pulling tea from the china cups and after, loud sighs of satisfaction. In less than an hour her thermos flasks are drained and the entire office is content.

Now there are those who wouldn’t be bothered by a second helping but for me, a second, a third and I kid you not, a fourth is what keeps me sane most days! I think of myself as a tea enthusiast. We are not talking a hurriedly done mixture of milk and water and sprinkles of tea leaves, no. I like mine brewed, for quite sometime. The proportion of milk and water should be such that the thickness is maintained. It has got to be substantially steamy, preferable to be removed from the fire and make it to the table within seconds. The cup within which I consume this hot stimulant should be deep enough such that by the time I drain it, I’ve savored it enough. Well, almost; a second helping is non-negotiable. Our tea girl seldom disappoints. Her tea is always extra thick, steamy and creamy. I make it a point to appreciate her craft; she saves the hassle of carrying my own tea to the office.

Unfortunately, there are a few people like our tea-girl who understand tea-enthusiasts. Although, I noticed this past couple of days she slackened. The tea wasn’t creamy enough and I suspect foul play. I intend to keep my eye on her. Should the quality dwindle further I will have no choice but to confront her. You see, the right to high quality tea cannot be assumed and people like us make for bad customers. We fuss a lot and would not hesitate to dodge the bill if our tea was so much as a degree Celsius, colder than acceptable. We swear by hot tea and extra cream and steam is life at its best. So if you are behind us at the queue in the cafeteria, know that you will stand there awhile.

You see, we have to make our specifications known and this may take a while. Either, wait patiently or postpone your order. If you are seating at the table across from us and happen to overhear us complain to the waitress about the thickness of the tea, threatening to walk out if something is not done, do not be alarmed. We are simple unabashed when it comes to what we feel about milk and water proportions. Again, it’s just the love of tea, nothing personal.

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