Somewhere around three years ago, the tradition of a daily tea time became instilled in our little household. Besides the necessary wake-up cup of tea, there is the ritualistic three o’clock tea time. We stop whatever we are doing and we give ourselves a moment to indulge in a relaxed moment with a cup of our favorite tea. To skip the regular three o’clock tea break is now considered a heinous crime around here. My husband is worse than me about it. Around two-thirty, he starts to make subtle mentions that a nice cup of tea or a cup of coffee sounds really good.
Tea time is never complete without a scone or a small snack of some sort. Sometimes, I’ll go all out and slice up fruit, cheese, make some toast or a tasty Indian samosa, and have a real tea party. This is certainly a perk for a couple with both people working from home. Right now in my life, I wouldn’t trade these fun moments at home with my husband for anything.
We have an old pie safe in our tiny kitchen that we have dubbed the tea and spice cupboard. One shelf houses most of the tea and tea paraphernalia. Below that is our spice shelf, and then the rest of the cabinet houses antique dishes, rice, and coffee. Here is a peak inside (no matter how many times I organize the spices, they end up a mess after the flurry of cooking a large meal):
The current favorite teas in this house are all spiced teas: Fantasy brand Masala Chai, Wagh Bakri Cardamom Chai, and Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice (an herbal version of chai):
The Cardamom and Bengal Spice tea taste great with milk and a little sugar. My husband likes to brew the Bengal Spice for 15 minutes, which turns the tea into a fiery cinnamon treat! Like drinking a cup of red hots 🙂
For the Masala Chai, I usually add in a variety of spices. This is my recipe for a good cup of Masala Chai for two (I know I break all the tea brewing rules, but what can I say? I like to live dangerously!):
Mix the following ingredients in either a large glass measuring cup and microwave- or in a small sauce pan and gently boil on the stove. Brew until the color seems right, and add as much sweetener as you like. Pour through a strainer into a teapot or 2 teacups.
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup milk or almond milk
- 2 Black tea bags (my preference is Fantasy Masala Chai)
- 1 star anise
- 4 black pepper corns
- a small piece of either fresh or candied ginger
- a pinch of cinnamon bark or a small cinnamon stick
- a splash of vanilla extract
- a dash of cardamom powder or two green cardamom pods
- 3 cloves
- optional: (not usually in Masala Chai) 1 tsp of holy basil leaves and 6 tiny caraway seeds
I was reading once in a cookbook – I believe one of Madhur Jafferey’s – that in India, it is customary to fill the cup with overflowing tea so that it runs down into the saucer. The tea from the saucer is drunk first, and then the tea from the cup. This symbolizes the host’s generosity and friendship overflowing onto their guests. This is the wonderful thing about tea time; in so many cultures, it is a tradition of hospitality and ceremony.
So take some time and enjoy the age-old ritual of a tea time, which is even better when shared with friends, or husbands who love spicy cinnamon tea.