Today I have arisen in the quiet aftermath of almost a month of house guests.
I find life generally, a bit busy. I run the tea business with Lady Devotea, and also a consulting business, and also work part-time in HR. Lady D also has a second part-time role. That’s two people with 5 or 6 jobs, depending on when you ask.
So with Devotea Junior the Elder and Lady Z staying for a month, and that month being around Christmas, it’s clearly time to relax. Also time for a lot of tea.
In fact, I was so committed to relaxing that I mucked around with my schedule and only had to actually work four days in four weeks while they were here.
And for those in other parts, note that in Australia we are clever enough to hold Christmas at a time of year when the weather is actually good. What’s the point of having all or part of your four weeks off* if you have to dress up like you’re attending a Scott Of The Antarctic fancy dress party every time you need to pop out for some milk?
But of course, the festive season is nothing if not crowded with friends and relatives and events. We hosted Christmas. We saw our other fine progeny, Devotea Junior (AKA Saxon, our COO**, famed as a biscuit maker to adoring fans) plus partner, a bunch of times. We all went away to our family shack (or holiday home or cabin, depending on your terminology) for a week. We fished and caught squid and went on a charter and returned home to miffed cats. We went to the movies and to a music festival. We did several projects; myself and Devotea Junior The Elder built a bass guitar and a left handed electric guitar from kits, Lady Devotea along with both our houseguests restored a table that we have owned for many years but had suffered badly due to being left outdoors for a year or so when it was with someone else. Board games, physical and electronic, turned up a fair bit. We dug carrots, parsnips and onions from the garden plus spinach and tomatoes, added eggs from our chickens and created many fine meals in an old fashioned way. We moved furniture, cleaned out two sheds and watered relentlessly against the heat. We delivered a few emergency supplies of tea to organisations and individuals.
We toured the local wine area, and although I don’t drink, had a lot of fun. You don’t have to be tipsy to appreciate a winery that fires watermelons from a trebuchet.
We even roasted some Kona coffee beans in a wok over a barbecue.
And of course, we had an earth shattering tea tasting at home.
With all this going on, we have been happy but exhausted much of the time. The phrase used earlier “time to relax” is a bit of a joke.
During all this time, someone – obviously not someone of any consequence – said to me “When you’re busy, surely a teab*g is quicker and more convenient than mucking about with a pot”.
And my response, when I hear this sort of travesty?
My Answer is “Balls”.
There are many fine teas that come in a ball. You just throw it in a cup and pour boiling or near-boiling water on it.
A ball is superior in every way to a teab*g: It tastes vastly better, it’s probably better tea for you. You can get 6 or 7 good steeps out of most of them, whereas the number of great steeps you can get out of a teab*g is precisely zero.And it’s even more convenient, as you don’t even have to take it out of the cup and place it in the bin before you drink. Given that some people find a teapot hard to use – and yet some of them can tie their own shoes and everything – the difficulty of removing a sodden bag of pathetic tea from a cup and manoeuvering it to the bin must be an enormous challenge. (Incidentally, just throwing the entire unopened box of teab*gs in the bin is a very clean solution. And you’ll still get precisely the same amount of good cups of tea from it.)
I usually drink Dreamer’s Balls which is one of ours. But there are plenty of balls about.
While the convenience factor is great – I often select balls when I am only making tea for one – there’s no doubting this is a quality product. Hand picked, processed and hand-tied, a lot of work goes into these little beauties.
You may be familiar with the versions that have flowers built in and that unfurl before your eyes. They are great, and spectacular, but also really expensive: I don’t see them as an everyday drink.
In fact, here’s a peek in my cup right now:
So, sometimes you have to make a decision. Do I undertake the hopeless, ugly, mean-spirited, lacklustre, inadequate, low grade option and just plonk a pare or plastic bag of utter nonsense in your cup and form their into your body, or do I go with another answer to a raging tea thirst.
My answer is ‘balls’.
Yours should be, too.
If yours isn’t, I won’t judge you.***
*Most working Australians get four weeks annual paid leave. Sometimes as their employers shut down for a while, most take at least part of it at Xmas. If you don’t, I’m sorry to hear it.
** Chief Opinion Officer
*** What a crock. Pick teab*gs and I’ll judge you harshly, you clown.