Octeaber: Tea Confessions – The Old Witch Strikes Back

Tonight then folks, I hand the teabag strings back over to The Old Witch herself – my mother – as I am busy acting as Mother Tea-raiser at a tea tasting evening for eating disorder sufferers at SYEDA. Here are the old tea-bag’s confessions (she begged me to answer them as she is rather enjoying her new cult sex icon status)

S’up Brew: What tea was your ‘brew awakening’ and led you to take the humble cuppa more seriously?

No… coffee awakening. I was young, about five or six and I spent every weekend with my maternal Grandmother. She adored tea, but would on occasion have a coffee, made only with warmed, pasteurised milk and then sprinkled with grated chocolate (Cadbury’s chocolate, no less. Is there any other? Mmmm! Cadbury’s,  oh, sorry, daydreaming). This was always a special treat, we would drink one together on a Saturday afternoon watching old musicals. Tea, on the other hand, was boring, it was too hot, too bitter and too watery for my liking. Old wives tale alert: don’t use boiling water – it will turn it to poison; don’t stew it for too long – it will make you ill, put the milk in first, warm the pot, always use the china cups, don’t dunk your biscuits. So many rules! No wonder I preferred the simple coffee.

It was England in the seventies and the range of instant coffee on offer was as limited as finding a Tea Witch blog without a reference to hot women (ahem). There was Maxwell house, Camp coffee (honest , it was liquid nectar), Nescafé  and some very dodgy powdered stuff from Sainsbury’s et al.  Oooh, Nescafé Gold Blend and those adverts with lovely Anthony Head in the eighties (anyone under 35 will have to Google, but, trust me, Christina Hendricks’ assets have got nothing on Tony) *swoon*.

I liked coffee so much that I even convinced my mother to dust off her coffee percolator. It was a wedding present in 1963 and had been banished to the back of the cupboard since my sister was born in1966. My mom only drank coffee when she was pregnant. I loved the “plup plup plup” sounds it made when it was percolating (like molten chocolate in a vat bubbling..oh, sorry daydreaming in chocolate heaven again) and the smell was incredible. Mom hated it because if the “mess”, but I was hooked.

Move Oolong: What was the most disappointing cuppa you have tried and why?

The tea one is easy – see my last blog The Curious In-tea-dent of the Grandparents in the Summertime. ‘Nuff said. The coffee disappointment has to be any coffee that emanates from a coffee machine. You are there, in a hospital, a car showroom, a conference, a service station etc. and there it is….a big metal box and on it, the most alluring picture of a steamy, thick, creamy, enticing cup of coffee. The smell of it captivating, promising the taste that you are after, rich, yet mellow, full bodied yet mild. After scrambling around for the correct change, carefully selecting cappuccino, extra milk, sugar and watching the machine do its stuff, what do you get ? Coffee that’s tastes like it’s been forced through the jock strap of a chain smoking, octogenarian. Bitter disappointment. Literally.

Hospitali-Tea: what kind of tea would you rustle up if someone popped round unexpectedly and why?

As for, what to serve when people turn up, I do have a small selection of wannabe teas. There’s a “Yorkshire tea” from the supermarket and a couple of Pukka teas in various guises (but then, only because Twitchy was starting to get “into her tea” and this was pre loose leaf mania).
Usually , I offer guests coffee before even mentioning tea. I have an extensive array of coffee to offer, however. Who am I kidding? I have two types of coffee in the cupboard at the moment, Douwe Egberts instant and – if I’m feeling like a treat – a Nescafé Mochaccino sachet (8 in a box). Oh, l have just found a third – Azera Americano. I did once have a coffee machine but it was a pain in the proverbials to set up, use and clean (a barrista, I ain’t). I am keen to sample Twitchy’s new purchase – yes folks, old loose leaf tea knickers herself has a posh coffee machine. l hope it’s one of those George Clooney jobs, all pods and posh buttons.

Sexual Tea-ling: What brew would you use to impress someone & get them in the mood?!

Having been married for almost 29 years, I need reminding what this means – romantically impress someone? Get them in the mood? No can’t help you, does not compute. I would probably have to agree with the great narrative of Boy George (for those of you born after 1978, he was very big in the eighties), who famously claimed to prefer a nice cup of tea, to having sex. And I BLOODY HATE TEA! I may have said.

Infini-tea & Beyond: You are on death row for unspeakable brew-related crimes (I’ve seen your violent abuse of Aldi Instant!). What would be your ‘last brew’ selection?

So I’m on death row, I’ve committed some mis-tea-meanour, I’m preparing to meet the great sommelier in the sky and what do I choose for my “any last requests” beverage? It has to be …. CHOCOLATE!! Forget your tea – milky ,green, fruity, whatever. Keep your coffee – filtered, instant and espresso. No, just give me a cup of smooth, melted, dairy milk (it has to be Cadbury’s, I may have mentioned that before too) and lead me to the gallows sited, quite rightfully, in the grounds of my spiritual home: Bournville.



Check back tomorrow for the next Octeaber blogging challenge instalment!


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