Tea, Books & Thoughts

All I need in life is a good book and a warm cup of tea



Madrid Moments: Day 4 – Trip to Toledo and the last evening


On my final full day in Madrid Esther drove us to see Toledo, the medieval town that was the capital of Spain until 1560. We reached Toledo without too much trouble and walked up to the tourist information where we received a map and some guidance. Continue reading “Madrid Moments: Day 4 – Trip to Toledo and the last evening”

Madrid Moments: Day 3 – Lazy day by the pool and an evening in Barrio Chueca

On Thursday I woke up only at 10 and headed to Mür Café for my breakfast again. Afterwards I wandered around the neighbourhood, not daring to stray too far since Esther was picking me up from my hotel after her doctor’s appointment. Continue reading “Madrid Moments: Day 3 – Lazy day by the pool and an evening in Barrio Chueca”

Madrid Moments: Day 2 – Grand buildings, greenery and delicious food

On my second day in Madrid I woke up at 9 after a wonderful 12 hours of sleep. After getting ready I went out for breakfast. I had done some research to find a suitable breakfast place, because although I was sure there were many lovely places around my hotel I had a special need that Madrid could not easily cater for: good tea. Continue reading “Madrid Moments: Day 2 – Grand buildings, greenery and delicious food”

Madrid Moments: Day 1 – A tired trek through downtown Madrid

On 21 July the the Think Tank that I work for organised an event in Madrid and since my work paid for the return trip I decided to stay for some additional days. To my delight my friend Esther, a madrileña currently living in Paris, was also going to be there from Wednesday 22nd onwards, so we would have some time together. Continue reading “Madrid Moments: Day 1 – A tired trek through downtown Madrid”

Small Q&A about tea for a colleague

30 teabagsDuring my one week of holidays I managed to consume about 30 cups of tea (despite the limited selection) and now I am trying to get back to 3 cups a day. I am successful on most days, but it does take quite a bit of willpower to withstand the temptation. You might wonder what the harm is in drinking 5 cups of tea a day. Well, it is not the tea that I am avoiding, but the sugar that I insist on adding to each cup.

After the difficulties I had in finding tea in Spain, I decided to check whether tea consumption is low all over Spain or whether it is just that La Jonquera prefers to invest in other types of beverages (see earlier post). According to Wikipedia Spain is number 137 in the list of tea drinking countries. That explains it.

I guess I should have been prepared for this even before I left for Spain judging by the tea-ignorance displayed by a Spanish colleague of mine. One day she asked me to help her make tea. I was confused. How could I possibly be of help? To clarify; this was not about an advanced tea ceremony, but about making a cup of tea at the office, using a tea-bag.

As we entered the kitchen my colleague looked at me, waiting for me to guide her through the mysterious process of making a cup of tea. The conversation went something like this:

  • Q: How do you begin? A: Bring some water near to boiling point (the exact desired temperature depends on the tea. For black tea the water should be as near boiling as possible, while more delicate teas are better at slightly cooler temperatures).
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    Q: What is the difference between the teas? A: Herbal tea has no actual tea in it. While black, green and white tea is made of the tea plant (camellia sinensis), herbal tea is just some herbs steeped in hot water. Black tea is made by allowing the tea leaves to oxidize, while green tea is minimally oxidised and white tea is minimally oxidised buds or young leaves. In addition, flavours can be added to all these teas, allowing for many variants.

  • Q: Should you put the paper sachet into the water or take the tea bag out of its packaging? A: Take the tea bag out!
  • Q: How long should the bag stay in the water? A: It depends on the tea, so read the instructions. Usually about 3-5 minutes.

This was a condensed and  version of our discussion, which did digress due to my complete bafflement at my colleagues lack of knowledge about tea. She explained that nobody had ever made tea at her house and that the only tea she had tasted was chamomile, which was given as medicine at her school. She mentioned something along the lines of, “Is it not complicated making tea at home?” A lot easier than coffee, I would think. Unless you drink instant coffee of course.

Under my careful guidance my colleague was converted and she is now an avid tea drinker. She even brings her own tea to the office, not being satisfied with the selection available to her. Although, I do not seem able to convince her of the merits of black tea. She prefers herbal or green. 

Ok, time for another cup of tea…

Darnius Diary: Part 5 – A Grey End to the Week

On Thursday morning while I was still asleep my boyfriend made the aquaintance of a visitor who was enjoying the refreshing atmosphere of our pool.

  P1070506     P1070509 Continue reading “Darnius Diary: Part 5 – A Grey End to the Week”

Darnius Diary: Part 4 – Another Lazy Day

Loki by poolAfter our excursion to the coast on Tuesday we were in a mood for another lazy day on Wednesday. The day began grey, confirming our fears that the clouds had come to stay, but by 10 o’clock only light wisps remained in an otherwise bright sky. So another day by the pool beckoned. Continue reading “Darnius Diary: Part 4 – Another Lazy Day”

Darnius Diary: Part 3 – The Coast

During the night between Monday and Tuesday a thick blanket of grey moved to occupy the sky, and we found ourselves waking to an overcast day. The temperature was still pleasantly warm and I enjoyed the hushed stillness of the lake as I ate my breakfast. It was not going to be a day by the pool so we decided to head for the coast. We were planning to take some smaller roads but ended up in Figueres and continued from there to Roses. We thought we might take the coastal route from there to Cadaqués. By the time we reached the coast we had left the clouds behind us and could look over the sparkling sea. Continue reading “Darnius Diary: Part 3 – The Coast”

Darnius Diary: Part 2 – Lazy Days

On Sunday morning I woke up to my boyfriend making a fire in the open fireplace to drive away the morning chill. The smell of woodsmoke in the cool morning air coupled with the view over a lake, reminded me of vacations at the summer cottage in Finland, 3000km north of my current location. I felt both elated and and immensly peaceful as I sat and looked over the lake while sipping my tea. Continue reading “Darnius Diary: Part 2 – Lazy Days”

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