Sunday, September 25, 2011

Green Tea

I've never been much of a tea drinker — coffee is my hot beverage of choice: strong, with a good splash of milk, no sugar. My family were always tea drinkers, also strong, sometimes with a dash of milk, mostly not.

It wasn't until I drank Chinese tea that I realized I liked tea. So now, when tea is offered I ask for weak, black, no sugar, and it's fine. Then I went on a health kick and decided I should drink green tea. I found it bitter, nasty stuff. I struggled with it a while, then gave up. It wasn't for me — or so I thought.

Enter Keri Arthur, who's become an inveterate drinker of green tea. At a conference earlier this year, she offered me  a cup of green tea. I pulled a face. "No thanks, too bitter for me."

"Then you're making it wrong," she told me. "Don't make it with boiling water — wait a few minutes to let the water drop below boiling point, then make the tea. And don't let it steep too long." And she made me a cup and I liked it.

Since then, I still start my day with a lovely strong cup of coffee, but for the rest of the day it's green tea, nothing fancy -- tea bags from the supermarket. I have less patience than Keri - after the kettle boils, I add a dash of cold water and pour straight away.

And I drink my tea from the very special mug pictured above, a gift from a friend in memory of the time a bunch of romance writers sat down to order a meal. The gorgeous French waiter ran through the specials. We gazed up at him attentively — and took in not a word. The looks, the accent — who cared what was on the menu? This is the coaster that came with the mug. It shows the full picture.