Cup of tea, Mommy?
Making a hot beverage is one of the unsung milestones of childhood.
Making your parents a hot beverage must rank as one of the most under-appreciated milestones of childhood. Don’t you think? No-one ever really talks about it. But it’s a Big Thing, you know.

I remember how proud I felt when I decided to launch into the mysterious world of tea and coffee making for the adult population of the home. I remember proudly making two cups of what must have been the vilest instant coffee on the face of the planet and carrying it through to the living room to surprise my parents with a grin so big I think they thought I’d just taught myself to levitate. Come to think of it, I practically was levitating with cusp-of-adulthood (or so I thought) independence.

You really feel like a big deal when you’ve done that. Thought of it (never mind what time of the day and whether this is the usual time for their coffee), figured it out by guessing the numbers of teaspoons of each dry ingredient (I think I settled on three spoons of coffee and one spoon of sugar), remembered to fill the kettle before boiling it, poured the boiling water without injuring yourself and then carrying it through without spilling it.

I get a huge thrill just remembering all of the thought and pride that went into those first two cups of coffee.

I also remember my mother’s gentle and non-intrusive urgings to make the coffee ‘just right’. She even showed me once how she liked to pour the water from high up so that the coffee frothed. I don’t remember her ever say ‘Eee, yuk! What’s IN this cup?’

Parents are so sweet and long-suffering.

Fussy about tea

I’m so fussy about my tea that even my best friend refuses to make me a cup. He takes out the mug, plops a teabag and in and says ‘there you go’, at which point I take over the delicate operation.

It involves the right thickness of - a preferably white - ceramic mug, 2% milk, the exact amount of sugar, the length of drawing time of the teabag and the final alchemy of the perfectly coloured cup of tea. Oh, and the kind of tea and how long it’s been out of its freshness foil, are also important factors.

But in the past year I’ve been offered half cups of rooibos (which I don’t like) with what tastes like three tablespoons of sugar and full fat milk. I’ve been given Ceylon tea so strong it feels like moss instantly sprouts on my tongue. I’ve been served passable tea in plastic cups, an ice cold weak brew in home-made mugs and mint tea with milk in.

And each time I go ‘Hhm, thank you, this is lovely!’

And somehow, it actually really is.

Can you think of any unsung milestones? 

Read more by Karin Schimke

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