Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Drink Black Tea Often

A bunch of mugs relax on the veranda

I’m thinking you might be quite surprised to learn how much of a beloved beverage or food you’ve consumed so far in your life.  I’ll admit to some curiosity about my own modest achievements in the area of tea, including black, white, and sugared.

Beginnings.  I began as a toddler, strolling next door through the side gate to sit on my Uncle Pat’s knee and slurp stand-a-spoon-up-in-it black tea from his saucer.  Once an addiction was established, I progressed to actual cups and experiments with milk and sugar (condensed milk combined the best of both worlds, but alas, is somewhat fattening).  Parenthetically, Uncle Pat never struck me as any kind of dealer, but hey, they come on all shapes, sizes and degrees of benevolence.

Unworthy Diversions.  Yes, there were dalliances with chai, coffee, coffee and chicory, herbal tea, Milo, Ovaltine, and even Bovril, but my true liquid lover always waited faithfully for me at the beginning, middle and end of the day, plus mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and any other time you’d care to name.

The Estimation Begins.  So I waited for a sunny day, took my solar-powered calculator out to the veranda steps, collected some energising rays, and began the drunken digital tapdance of the non-mathematician on its keypad.  Using a formula I can’t reveal – let’s just say I was more conservative with my childhood consumption than was strictly necessary; and let’s just say that writers view figurative activity with a bemused and confused attitude – I worked the numbers.

Everest Schmeverest.  My estimate is that I’ve drunk around 70,000 cups of the most beautiful, versatile, satisfying (easy on the adjectives, tea doesn’t need the boost anyway) beverage the world has ever known (and I may still have a couple of decades left in me).

DIY BBCR.  Why not calculate your own BBCR (Beautiful Beverage Consumption Rate) and feel impressed with your own stamina and pathetic inability to stop, cease and desist from your addictive behaviour.  Go on – you could have already reached nirvana 80,000 times for all you know.  Do not fear the calculator.  If you like, here’s a tip from Veranda Life’s tannin salon – try using an average of 3.6 cups per day and see how you go.  Does it measure up to your own instincts?  It allows for 5 cups per day for adult consumption rates and a bit less for childhood and adolescence. 

Granted, there are always spikes one way and the other, but unless you’re a beverage behemoth like Fabian Vas in The Bird Artist  (a fantastic novel, by the way) on 20 to 30 cups of coffee per day, 3.6 isn’t a bad lifetime average.  And I don’t think Fabian developed his habit until adulthood.  So there.

Life is a dessert
Ridiculous Colorful
Black tea tempers it

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