Of course, you can have twenty or thirty cups of tea in a day, if you like.
In this blog, though, I’m going to pare it back to just the essential cups. The ones it would be hard to live without. I’m not going to include the optional ones.
Also, I’m going to call a cup a cup, no matter if it’s a delicate china cup you sip from at afternoon tea, or the imperial pint mug with “You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps” on it that you inherited when your supervisor was fired after some unwise hand positioning at last year’s office Christmas party.
So let’s start by getting up. Let’s imagine it’s a weekday workday.
Get the kettle on. This should be done on autopilot. Once the water is in and the electricity or gas is doing its job, you can fuss about with letting cats in and/or out, or fetching newspapers from driveways assuming you are suitably clad.
Ahhhh, that first cuppa. Even as the aroma fills your living space, you start to truly wake up as soon as your brain realises that your mouth will be intersecting with tea in a few moments.
Once that’s done, you can get down to that special thing only humans do, the thing that sets up apart from the animals, the thing that makes us truly human: you can check your email, Twitter, Facebook and see who’s posted a blog on Tea Trade.
I find that if that first morning cuppa is truly huge – say half a litre – then you can get through until breakfast. (In fact, I wrote this whole blog on just my first 550ml cup of Lord Petersham.) Depending on how big a meal breakfast is for you socially, you might have your second cup of tea only, or you may sit around the table with friends or family, and thereby have a few supplemental cups.
Once you’ve breakfasted, performed your morning ablutions and dressed appropriately, it’s probably time for work. Your commuting cup of tea is your third essential cup. This can be taken with you to drink along the way, or you can stop off at a tea shop on the way, or made as you arrive at work to cleanse yourself of the horrors of driving/ train travel/ walking/ cycling/ with a squillion other people. My commute is only nine metres, so I just take it with me.
The tea you have had so far should sustain you until Morning Tea, a ritual you should insist upon at your workplace. Make a pot at the same time every day, and you’ll be amazed that over time you have to keep buying bigger teapots.
Lunch time arrives, and it’s time for sustenance. It can be tricky to find good tea, but I find that you can start by being reasonable and end by threatening to burn the place down, and eventually most places can make you a decent cuppa to go with your lunch.
The afternoon stretches interminably ahead of you. It’s hard to even survive until Afternoon tea. I guess everyday afternoon tea can’t be ribbon sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and little pastries, but just a bun and a cuppa will get you through most work afternoons just well enough to not actually murder a useless, stinking co-worker and have to hide their useless, stinking corpse in a nearby rubbish skip. Most, if not all. Sometimes it’s a toss-up between homicide or a second cup. I have a little mantra I say to myself at this time to keep me from shanking a useless, stinking co-worker at these times, and its: “In prison, they only have teab*gs”.
So, all you have to do is get through the rest of the day.
Here’s a little side note: some people stop drinking tea mid- or late afternoon on the pathetic pretext that “it’s got caffeine in it”. Well, what you say to these people is “Shut your whining! With that attitude, we’d still be swinging through the trees. You’re letting the whole human race down. You should be ashamed of yourself”. That usually works, though admittedly, I don’t have as many friends as other people seem to.
So, dinner time arrives. You’ve commuted back, the sights and smells of the freeway/ train /bus /camel still linger, and you have to decide: tea with each course of dinner, or merely with dessert? That’s of course purely a personal matter, so I think we’ll just count one dinnertime cup as essential.
So far, that’s seven essential cups.
Whether you spend your post-prandial hours watching television, playing board games, writing sonnets, walking the dog or attending a naked Greco-Roman wrestling night in a swimming pool full of blueberry jam with other consenting adults, you need to squeeze at least one cup in to revive your flagging energy levels. No one wants to flag at an unfortunate time in any of these events, for example drifting off just as Poirot says “Ah, Monsieur, you see, the butler’s body was not in the pantry, it was strapped to the -how you say it? – alpaca- by Colonel Smethington to cover up Lady Jessica’s indiscretion with the hired help, and therefore..” and waking up to find your watching a documentary on bees.
And lastly, a cup of masala chai with milk or a nice light white tea as you head off to bed.
So, that’s nine cups. Of course, just by having seconds each time, it’s easy to get to eighteen, after that, the sky’s the limit.