The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

January 13, 2013

Tea lover extols its virtues

I just read an interesting lifestyle story by Laura Ungar of The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.

It begins: “Worldwide, tea is the second-most-popular drink, after water. But in this coffee-crazed nation, it’s long been a subordinate brew. Until now. Tea’s popularity is growing across America as scientists and the public learn more about bountiful health benefits.”

Approximately 160 million Americans drink tea on a given day, and the number is growing.

Tea fights cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure, studies show.

It’s nice to be ahead of the curve, for once in my life.

My father came from a family of coffee drinkers, but he preferred tea. He was my hero, so when I was about 6, I started drinking tea, too. I added one level teaspoon of sugar, and just a smidgen more, just like Dad. I can still hear him say, “Cuppa tea, Bee?” (He called me Beezer). We drank tea together until he died in 1991.

He also introduced me to “real” tea. That began with an early-1960s trip to Lincoln Square, the indoor shopping mall in downtown Urbana. There was a tea shop there, so Dad bought a can of “Irish Breakfast” loose tea for me. I had never seen loose tea before.

Back home, we found an old aluminum tea ball that my Grandmother Cullen had. Dad spooned in the tea and screwed the lid on. Into the teapot it went, followed by boiling water. A few minutes later, we were sipping “real” tea. I was charmed by the process; the tea tasted better, too.

Our tea drinking continued through the years. Dad and I were tea drinkers in a world full of percolators, Maxwell House and Folgers. I grew up and moved away, but we resumed our little father-son tea ritual whenever I came home.

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