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Bon appétit

What’s your cup of tea?

manuelita otero

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I love coffee. Tea… I am just starting to get comfortable with out of necessity really. Not too long ago I had an annoying cough that just didn’t want to leave but two weeks of hot tea with lemon, honey, and ginger did the trick, so now I like tea, and maybe soon I will say that I also love tea. But the more I think about it it’s not so much that I love coffee, what I love is the moment when I am drinking coffee. I love the conversations, the memories, and the time I have on my own as I sip my hot drink. There’s something special about these drinks, something that has been shared from generation to generation, a beautiful ritual that soothes the body and the mind.

There seem to be endless studies about the benefits of coffee and tea. How their content of caffeine acts as a stimulant and reduces drowsiness. Black and green tea, especially the matcha, gyokuro and anji bai cha varieties our moods and modulate serotonin and dopamine.  Tea increases the ability to burn fat as fuel which improves muscle endurance. It helps reduce risk of heart attack, helps protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, and helps fight free radicals. Coffee protects against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson disease, liver cancer and promotes a healthy heart. It can boost your metabolic rate, protects you against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and it is the biggest source of antioxidant in the western diet. It also stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine which produces a pleasant feeling and euphoria.

All these are great reasons to love coffee, tea and  chocolate, but there are certain benefits of these drinks that simply can’t be measured or explained.  Tea in Japan is a traditional cultural activity, the famous Japanese tea ceremony is one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement. It is an open invitation to enjoy this drink as a process of art, appreciating the beauty of the moment, the simplicity and at the same time the complexity of the procedures used. High tea or afternoon tea in London is another great example how a drink can become part of the essence of being from a certain place and sharing the same traditions.  Sometimes the benefits of a drink can only be measured by memories, by traditions, by roots that run deep and are part of who you are. I remember long time ago visiting our aunts in Medellin, Colombia. I knew around 4pm someone would yell from the first floor “vamos a tomar el algo” (Let’s eat a snack) and the smell of parva: almojabanas, Buñuelos, pandequesos would fill the room as everyone talked at the same time and drank coffee or hot chocolate. I also remember “las onces” when we would visit our family in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Again a full table surrounded by people you love eating tamal, bread, cheese and drinking hot chocolate or coffee.  And I can remember the many coffees I have had with friends and family, the meetings with my daughter talking about My Closet Etc. over a cup of coffee and a sweet treat, and the many coffees I have enjoyed on my own, writing, thinking or simply doing nothing at all.

My favorite time is coffee time, not so much for the coffee, but for the feeling I get, the time I share and the oasis I create in the middle of a busy day. How about you? Maybe you’re not crazy about coffee or tea, but why not create a tradition that will go from generation to generation?

Manuelita @manuelitaotero