I admit that my reflections talk about tea more than most other things, but to be fair, tea helps me connect and reflect more than most. It’s Wednesday and I could tell you a lot about how I passed the week through tea. There was the weekend tea that I sipped with friends and family – black berry flavored tea, mint watermelon tea, herbal tea – I drink the same sachet on a different side of the globe from my loved ones, a virtual tea party planned for different parts of the month. There was the oolong tea I brewed and re-brewed during quiet mornings before Greg wakes up – I use unfired clay teaware and enjoy the nuances of flavor before or after morning devotions, stretching, and exercises. There was the tea we brewed for Mrs. Msosa when she stayed over, tea that tasted like fruit which our friend Olivia sent from Europe. There was iced tea during the heat of the day and herbal tea in the evening time.
This morning I woke up with peach flavored tea, tea straight from the estate where we stayed last year during a luxurious, COVID-discounted vacation. After a teaching in the village, I stopped in at Thokozani’s tea shop. This shop has been in the process many years – she bought the building and the land after one harvest season and started her adjacent clothing shop after the next. It took a while for her to open the tea house on the other side – time to buy milk and sugar in bulk, time to gather the utensils. But this is the time of year for her to have good business. She charges thirty cents for a cup of tea, mostly milk powder and sugar liquified with a bit of hot water drained quickly through a strainer with black tea leaves. It is delicious. I savor the experience. My favorite teahouse in this country, perhaps? The Chinese restaurant where I discovered a pot infused with mouthwatering fancy green leaves accompanying a plentiful dumpling platter last Saturday is a close second. But I can’t beat the price here. The tea comes with about 1/3 loaf fresh baked bread. There is no way I can finish it all, so I ask Thoko’s daughter to give the extra to some children passing by on their way home from school. Next time, I hope I can sit and chat with the others in the tea room, but today Greg is rushing to a meeting.
Last night my sister chatted with me over a video as she planned to pack a box for me. We went through teas gifted to me on my birthday, teas sampled and vetted by my Mom, teas sent over from Texas from my friend. I can’t wait to try these new tea experiences, and to start sharing new times of connection and deliciousness with others.