But there may be a “U” in tea. July contest!The name of one lucky commenter will be drawn at random to receive two beautiful issues of Southern Lady’s Tea Time magazine, chock full of recipes and tea lore, a Maine treat and some other sweet stuff. You’ll have to supply your own cup of tea. I’ll be having mine iced on vacation, so look for a new post with the winner after July 11.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C.S. Lewis

I’m a tea drinker. Although I love coffee, it doesn’t seem to always agree with me (Coffee ice cream seems to be okay, though *g*.). My favorite brand is King Cole tea, which is manufactured in New Brunswick, Canada. So, sometimes foreign intrigue has been involved when I want to purchase it.

I came across this tea when I was working in another school district. The school nurse walked by, and she smelled terrific. Actually, it was her mug of tea. Her mother lived in Calais, Maine (pronounced “callous” here—sorry, Francophiles) and she went grocery shopping in Canada every time she visited. My friend CeCe knew someone who worked on the railroad, so we had this poor guy smuggling tea into Maine. Anytime one of us went to Canada on vacation, we were given cash to bring back boxes. Tea mules, as it were, but fortunately the gauze sachets were not secreted in any uncomfortable places. Last summer I went to Montreal, and the only souvenirs in my suitcase were six boxes of tea. King Cole can also be ordered online, which somehow takes all the fun out of it.

Tea is the new “hot” thing for health. According to the website:

A growing body of research indicates that the tannins in tea are naturally-occurring flavonoids that have strong antioxidant properties. Drinking tea is a natural and pleasant way to increase dietary intake of antioxidants.

There is mounting evidence that suggests that antioxidant-rich foods may play a role in reducing the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.

Sign me up.

Tea has been a regular part of English life since the 1660s. It gained in popularity when Charles II married Catherine of Braganza. She was a teetotaler who preferred tea to wine and ale, and soon everyone at court was drinking tea. Eventually, the public sipped along with the aristocracy.

English people take their tea seriously. The London Times printed letters for months whether one should add milk before or after the tea is in the cup. Opinion was mixed. And heated.

Tea rooms in Britain today serve “full” tea from three to five o’clock. On the menu: savories (small sandwiches and appetizers), scones with clotted cream and jam, cakes, cookies, shortbread and other sweets. And tea, of course. I guess I’ll have to skip dinner.

Drinking tea is obligatory in most historicals, even though the heroes always mutter that it’s swill. Sebastian in Suzanne Enoch’s Sins of a Duke drinks tea that is “awful, something bitter and tasting like old sticks.”

Classes are taught in tea etiquette. There are rigid and mysterious rituals associated with it in China, Korea and Japan. Apparently tea had something to do with the founding of a country, too. I just know I like to drink it, hot or cold.

What’s your pleasure? Coffee, tea, or both? If tea, milk or lemon?

What ritual do you have that makes you happy? Any exercise/health hints you swear by? Do you take vitamins? Thank goodness for Centrum Silver.

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. ~Japanese Proverb

We had a kettle; we let it leak:Our not repairing made it worse.We haven’t had any tea for a week…The bottom is out of the Universe.~Rudyard Kipling

Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane. ~Honoré de Balzac

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