A Cuppa

2:41 PM

Although it seems as though the Dog Days of summer are already here at the end of June (judging by our recent temperature of 105), occasionally, I still reach for a little cup of espresso mid-afternoon to give me a boost.

My favorite little gadget for making an espresso is my little Bialetti Moka pot. Not only does it make a darn fabulous espresso, but the little logo man makes me smile. 

The size Moka pot I have makes a little serving of espresso for one person and it is out of this world! I feel very European (Italian, to be precise) every time I unscrew the little base, fill it with water, drop in the coffee compartment, put in the required scoops of coffee, re-screw the top and bottom together and position it, oh-so-carefully, over my oven's lowest flame setting. In about a minute, I see a hiss of steam emerging from the spout and a promising gurgling sound as the water is drawn upwards through the grounds and espresso magically appears.

Interesting aside here - for some reason I prefer to sweeten my espresso with brown sugar instead of white. Don't know why, but it makes it slightly more decadent to me.

But on some days, I need something with a little bit less of a kick. Something like hot tea.
Oh yes, I'm still every bit as much of a hot tea lover as always. Again, even during the heat of summer. Call me crazy!

And while I do usually go with tea bags (Earl Grey or PG Tips) as opposed to loose tea, I like to do things as correct as possible.  In order to make sure I was doing what was properly British in regards to my afternoon tea, I even found a little You-Tube video on making a proper "cuppa."

The proper procedure for making a "cuppa" involves bringing water to boil in my kettle, then pouring some boiling water into the ceramic tea pot to "hot the pot." (The purpose of this, as far as I can tell, is to prevent a cold pot from sucking heat away from its purpose which is, first and foremost, to brew the perfect tea). After the pot has been "hotted" (tee hee), you dump out that hot water and then place into the teapot either a) scoops of loose tea or b) tea bags.

As a general rule of thumb, if you're going with loose tea, you use a spoonful of tea per person you'll be serving and one for the pot. I always find that step kind of endearing. (I would like to thank Lynnie here for the gift of her mother's teapot to me. I use it and think of her!)

Same general idea with the tea bags - one per person plus the pot. Although, I confess that depending on the type of tea bag and how strong it tends to turn out, I'll use just one bag.

You let the tea steep the required number of minutes.  If you're using milk, you put a little in the bottom of your teacup before you pour in the tea. And then sugar it after the tea has been poured.

Milk goes with sugar.
Honey goes with lemon.

And then, you sip and savor and find that no matter how stressful your day has been, it calms down a bit. And if you really do it right, you pull out your prettiest teacup and saucer and enjoy your tea even more cause it's now not just a soothing process, but a beautiful event.

And if you happen to be me, then you have a pretty decent collection of lovely little teacups that you can use so that each and every teatime experience is lovely in its own unique way.

So, although it makes me break out into a sweat sometimes when it's hotter than hot outside, I still find taking the time to drink some hot tea makes me find beauty amid the ashes. Particularly useful when your area of the country feels not unlike a blazing furnace. 

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