Tea- a beverage fabled as a drink mistakenly discovered by the Chinese and made ever-so fanciful by the British over its vast empire including India.
Earliest historical reference on Tea in India dates back to 12th century AD while the British started producing it commercially and with China, India constitutes over 60% of the global tea cultivation.
Being an indispensable part of the daily routine, making tea varies from person to person, household to household. Hundreds of varieties make its preparation an art, and if ‘yours sincerely’ were to make it, it would be a dis’art’ster.
Either tired because of no sleep or tired of sleeping too much, be it with 3 hours sleep or 12 hours sleep, waking up groggy has always been my forte.
Post ablutions, the moment I step out of my room, a cup of steaming hot ‘chai’ would be sitting on the dining table, its aroma wafting through the air.
Intricately spiced with cardamom, cloves and ginger, its sweetness just right, this cup of joy had always been my mood raiser and deciding factor for how the day was going to be.
Then one day, I got up to an empty home. My family had left me ‘Home Alone’ for some shopping.
Expecting that the usual cup of tea would still be there, I walked to the dining table, teeming in anticipation.
The dejected look on my groggy face was seemingly becoming evident as the table had no cup of tea..
COVID time cooking experimentation had made me transform from a novice cook who knew just one dish to a fairly decent cook who could whip up something at ease. Biriyani, pasta, curries for roti, you name it, I could try to. Disaster stricken kitchen, pots and pans lying berserk post-cook is on you.
Just one hiccup!
I wasn’t very sure about how to make tea.
My earlier experiences of making tea and coffee were limited to my Nespresso machine or emptying a premix sachet or my office regular black coffee with no sugar.
So I did try.
Put the water to boil, added the tea leaves, a clove, cardamom pod and waited for the smell to waft through the air.
A pungent, putrid smell did waft through the air. Was it the cloves or the cardamom? Or was it the tea leaves? A quick smell test ensured all were smelling the way it was supposed.
Then it hit me, a slap on my face.
I added three tablespoons of tea instead of the 1-1.5 teaspoons, which was the norm. Watering down the brew was the only option.
To make me a cup of tea, I transferred the foul-smelling liquid into a bigger pot and added water enough to make tea for all the houses on my floor.
I left it simmering and went to attend a call.
My parents were calling to check if their gargantuan little boy was up.
Tea was simmering, and I went on talking.
It would be an exaggeration if I told you that my tea leaves were devoid of colour and the tea was pitch black. Well!
It had simmered for too long.
The smell had gone, or was it just olfactory adaptation?
I added milk powder to the glass and was pouring hitherto to another to get my froth on.
Alas, it was too strong. I kept on adding milk powder, enough to feed a child from age 1 to age 3 in the cup of tea, and it ended up becoming a thick mash.
I could freeze it to make a pudding.
A cup of tea, a feeling of joy, a sip of bliss had turned to become a slurry of mayhem.
Tomorrow, I intend to make coffee. I can hear the rejoicing Columbian coffee growers.
TLDR: I screwed up making tea! Exaggeration- quite a bit.