While shaking off the winter cold and looking for something deliciously cozy, there is no substitute for a great cup of tea. We all have our favorites but it’s always fun to spice up a routine; having really taken notice of oolong tea from the oddest of places (Alan Parker’s Angel Heart), it’s now one of our favorite treats. It’s best if you sip it straight (no milk, no sugar).
Remember the scene when Mickey Rourke goes to Charlotte Rampling’s character’s apartment and she asks “Darjeeling or oolong?” He prefers the latter; there’s something about Mickey Rourke in that film that will persuade one to fancy just about anything. For spring, curl up in your favorite robe, think of Mickey, and sip a lovely peach oolong tea from a fancy cup. And don’t forget your saucer with cookies. It’ll be difficult not to feel elegant, especially if you can watch the rain outside your window and pen a poem or two.
It’s impossible to drink tea and not think of the English, especially favorite characters such as Rex Harrison’s portrayal of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. The scene where he persistently tries to tell Eliza Doolittle the proper way of saying “cup of tea” sticks in our memories as something delightful and without substitute. She’s so tired from trying to become a proper lady; all she wants is a “cuppa tea.” She very carelessly throws the language about in her Cockney accent. This is clearly not the way to get tea (or strawberry tarts) from Higgins. No; one must enunciate if they want to be a proper lady in a flower shop: “Cup. Of. Tea. Cup, cup, cup, cup, of, of, of, of…” not “cuppa tea.”
If one is having a cup of black tea, by all means: doctor it with milk and sugar, unless it’s Earl Grey (that’s delicious as is). Everyone has their own preference of how to serve tea and of how to make tea: does one pour the boiling water over the tea bag or wait to dunk it in? Does it even make a difference? How long do you let it steep? In Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes, Steve Coogan makes a remark (while having tea with Alfred Molina) about how, if he ever wins an Academy Award, he’ll take the opportunity to tell Americans how to make a decent cup of tea.
The best part of tea is that you can throw a lavish party and be with your favorite people.
It’s a wonderfully luxurious and fun thing to do: have an adult tea party with actual tea (there was never any tea in those tiny cups from childhood tea parties with stuffed animals as guests). Wear a fun hat and pretend that it’s a Mad Hatter party! Whatever you do during your high tea, make sure that you don’t run out of tarts or scones and you’ll be sure to have a lovely time.
By Angie and Katherine Sloan