Mr. Sullivan was so proud of his invention. Sir Thomas Lipton loved it because he could put advertising on it. The English and some of my very dear friends are completely enamored of it, especially if it's PG Tips or Typhoo.
But, place a teabag before some of us tea lovers and you'll see a furrowing of our brow or a slight faltering of our step. You might even notice the shiver of horror that reels through us as we try to maintain our gracious teatime demeanor. You'll know our first thought is one of resignation and that our second is a sulky, "The water's probably tepid as well."
It's the height of snobbery. I know! But sadly, I can no longer help myself. I confess to slowing down a pace as I stroll past the grocery's tea bags. However, it is with only mild interest that I gaze upon their packaging, so colorful and inviting. In the end my nose still wrinkles with disdain and I find myself muttering, "Only fannings and so much dust."
There's no doubt tea bags are convenient and quick. But, part of what I love about tea is the anticipation of waiting. I love the drama of it all - what is called the agony of the leaves. I ask you, how much agony can exist in a tea bag? At the most, there might be a bit of the blues, but real agony? I hardly think so.
I hear that, nowadays, there are some very fine teas contained with tea bags but I say...hmph! If Mr. Sullivan were still with us I would have to beg his forgiveness for I've become a lover of full leaf, loose teas. I'm forever spoiled and I doubt there's any turning back.
Tea is often spoken of as a journey and so I often find myself brimming with eagerness to see where the next leg of my journey takes me and who my latest travel companions might be. Just yesterday a shopper near me put several packages of tea bags into her cart. With all the passion of a true tea lover, I cried out, "For the love of God woman, start your tea journey! I can help!"
Judging by the look of alarm on her face and the speed with which she and her cart disappeared around the corner, she clearly wasn't quite ready. Remembering the days when I was just like her, I smiled to myself and called out to her once more, "Happy trails, my friend."