Confessions of a Tea Addict

An email this evening on the subject of tea reminded me that I sometimes think that I might be a tea addict.

After all, the very first thing I do every morning when I wake up is to grope my way to the kitchen, and put the kettle on. Then I’ll grope my way to the bathroom, if I can remember where it is, and by the time I’m back out, there’ll be kettle full of hot water in the kitchen.

And the tea is made with tea bags in a mug, and the milk poured in second, and a spoonful of sugar added last (back in my riotous youth it used to be three spoonfuls, and an analysis of my diet once revealed to me that I was getting half my daily energy input from mugs of hot sweet tea).

And then I totter back to bed with the mug of newly-made tea, and slowly drink it. And with the first sip, the waking-up process begins in earnest. I gradually begin to remember who I am, and how I got here, and what I was doing yesterday, and what I’m supposed to be doing today.

It takes me ages to wake up. It’s like slowly surfacing from about a hundred metres underwater, rising centimetre by centimetre until my head finally breaks surface, and I can climb out onto dry land. It’s as if my bed was not a spring mattress, but a bottomless pool of water. Some days I never quite manage to wake up, but remain suspended about twenty metres down, before sinking back down again in the evening.

These days, the very first thoughts of the day (after the thinking process has got slowly under way) are very often the principal ideas of the day. Last night’s blog post (“Don’t Stop”) was the product of the earlier first thoughts of the day. Perhaps this is because, as first thoughts, they haven’t followed on from any earlier thoughts, and can go off in any direction. Or, contrarily, it might be because the first thoughts of the day are the distilled wisdom of a whole night of dreaming.

Anyway, the first cigarette of the day usually comes with the first thoughts of the day. Tobacco is a thoughtful drug, and I really only ever want to smoke when I’m thinking. So the first cigarette of the day attends the first thoughts of the day.

And then, it’s mug after mug of tea (always accompanied with cigarettes) all through the day, except if I go out and sit outside a pub with a beer, and smoke a cigarette with that. Really, I wouldn’t mind if, along with the the hot and cold water taps in my kitchen, there was also a hot tea tap. And I drink tea right through the evening until, when I finally climb back into bed, I replace the tea with neat whisky, which usually has the effect of sending me back to the bottom of the deep pond of my bed again in fairly short order.

Now, it seems to me that, if I can be described as a tobacco addict (and I’m sure that many people would describe me as that), why not a tea addict as well? Drinking tea isn’t really any different from smoking cigarettes. I’m sitting there, probably in front of my computer screen, when all of a sudden I feel like, y’know, another mug of tea. And the craving for a mug of tea is usually much stronger than the craving for a cigarette. In fact, my smoking addiction is wholly secondary to my tea addiction. I very seldom smoke if I’m not drinking something – tea, coffee, beer, wine -.

And tea is a powerful drug. It really does wake me up. And this is never more vividly experienced than when somebody brings me a cup of tea in the morning, and places it on my bedside table, and for the next ten minutes I try to summon up the strength and determination to reach out and take a sip. And when (or rather if) I finally manage to summon up the necessary herculean strength and invincible will to reach out ,

Is this a teacup that I see before me,
The handle toward my hand?
Comelet me clutch thee.
I have thee not,
and yet I see thee still.

…I will be always be rewarded within minutes by a rush of wakefulness, and will find the First Thoughts of the day squeezing their way slowly and laboriously through the corridors of my brain. Cigarettes simply help focus the tidal influx of thought. It’s tea that governs the tides.

So why haven’t we got tea cessation hotlines? Why aren’t doctors telling people to cut down on their tea consumption, or, better still, quit drinking tea altogether. Why isn’t there a ‘tea patch’ – a Tea Replacement Therapy – which delivers caffeine or tannin or whatever it is that gives tea its peculiar rush? Why isn’t tea being blamed for cancer, heart disease, and every other malady under the sun? Particularly when tea stains the insides of my mugs, building up an accretion layer that can only be removed by intense scouring. I can only assume that, just as smokers are supposed to have black lungs, that tea drinkers must have black stomachs and intestines.  And in my case, I’ve obviously got both.

Perhaps it’ll be the next big health scare? Tea causes cancer. And heart disease. And asthma. And biscuits cause cancer too. Particularly Rich Tea biscuits.

More likely, it’s that when the killjoy Nazi doctors and their minions are dreaming up their next assault on freedom, they’re usually doing so while sitting at tables, and stirring nice big cups of, yes,… tea.

About Frank Davis

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31 Responses to Confessions of a Tea Addict

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank I have been a Coffeholic for 30 years. Its so bad after the ban came down and I could no longer visit my coffee shop the ”WAFFLEHOUSE” in hermitage tn. I moved to Ky where freedom still exists. But one day I hit a really good day at Bingo and proceeded down to get my most desired want and luxury of a lifetime!

    A real restaraunt Coffee pot with water connected just hit the switch and 90 seconds later a whole pot is born,I even splurged for a bean warmer with grinder! All commercial Bunn products.

    Now if I get OUTLAWED again Im covered for the creature comforts…………

    Oh and it has the side mounted HOT WATER TAP! for tea…………or cocoa

    Yes it did cost a bundle even used. I have about 900.00 in them both together.

    First ciggy,then to the coffee pot! Before my second hit on the smoke Im pouring coffee.
    Then I proceed to the smoking war room and pick out todays targets which are getting fewer and fewer. Not like the target rich environment we had 2 or 3 years ago…….

    Then with nicotine and caffeine induced courage I take on the first battle,then another,then another until at last I find a fight. Some poor fool nazi dares enter my field!

    Ahh but life is good!

    • Rose says:

      Now if I get OUTLAWED again Im covered for the creature comforts…………

      Growing Coffee Beans at Home

      “Growing coffee plants at home is a rewarding experience that will help you learn and appreciate the work involved in producing coffee. It is a very easy plant to take care of and is a great conversation piece, especially during flowering or cherry development”

      Now you are.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Merkel To Europe: “Prepare To Cede Sovereignty”
    Tyler Durden’s pictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/22/2013 08:57 -0400

    Deutsche BankEuropean Central BankEuropean UnionGermanyReuters

    The liquidity tsunami that started in September of 2012 in the Marriner Eccles building and continued with the BOJ’s own epic QEasing expansion three weeks ago, has so far provided the impetus for Europe to kick the can of its inevitable dissolution for a few more months, yet slowly but surely the market is starting to read through the artificial levels implied by Italian and Spanish bonds, driven by recycled ECB funding via bank and repo conduits and of course Japanese carry cash, and rumblings of a return to crisis conditions are back.

    And as always happens, once the crisis talk is back, so is discussion of a fiscal union. Sure enough, earlier today Germany’s Angela Merkel once again reminded everyone just what the stakes are in order to achieve a truly stable, and sustainable European union: nothing short of ceding sovereignty to Germany. And with that we are back to square one, because that has always been the trade off – want a unified, fiscally and monetarily, Europe? You can get it: just bow down to Merkel.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    pril 22, 2013

    Bloomberg Wants to Raise Smoking Age to 21
    RUSH: Mayor Doomberg in New York wants to raise the age limit for buying cigarettes to 21. “Nobody under 21 will be able to buy cigarettes in New York City under a new proposal announced today that marks the latest in a decade of moves to crack down on smoking in New York City.” It could have an unintended consequence of letting more terrorists go free. Remember, it was a smoker out in the backyard for an afternoon puff noticing something odd about his winterized boat that led him to investigate, and he found Dzhokhar in there half conscious. Thankfully he called the cops. He wasn’t worried he’d be called a bigot. But there’s still time for that.


    RUSH: I really do hope we honor the smoker in Boston. Give the guy some kind of recognition, citation. This guy was willing to risk his life for a smoke. I mean, he’s risking his life smoking. He risked his life to go outside and smoke while the authorities were saying, “Don’t do that, stay in your home.” This guy risked his life, while smoking, risked his life for a smoke, and discovered Dzhokhar hiding in the boat.

  4. waltc says:

    My lifelong (it seems) First Move in the morning is to roll over, find a cigarette on the night table and light up. I’m curious as to how many others here do the same. It’s the cigarette that for me is the transition from dream to thought, from “Wha?” to “Oh yeah” and, yes, to knowing who and where I am. Je fume donc je suis, to put a spin on Pascal.

    I’ve heard it said that First Move smokers are the most addicted, yet I rarely smoke more than a dozen a day. Smoking definitely aids thought; I smoke more when I’m working.

    I too am a slow waker and occasionally, as you describe, can spend the first hours of whatever constitutes Day not-quite-awake. Half vampire, perhaps, I come wide awake at night.

    As for caffeine, they do keep trying to demonize it but despite all the damning “studies,” they do pay some attention to the opposite kind of studies that show its benefits. Still, in my files somewhere are quotes from Experts calling it “the most widely abused addictive drug in the world” and showing how it harms The Children ™ So stay tuned for later bulletins. After they finish with sugar, salt, fat and liquor, how else with the Control Industry keep itself alive?..

  5. Rose says:

    Frank, that was extraordinary. Like seeing myself in a mirror, but for me it’s –

    “Is this a coffee I see before me,
    Its hilt towards my hand?

    I know that hilt doesn’t make sense, but it is still the first thought that comes to me if someone brings me coffee in bed.
    And yes, the struggle to reach out an arm and grasp it is immense.

    “Why isn’t tea being blamed for cancer, heart disease, and every other malady under the sun? ”

    Tea would have fitted the bill very well.
    If I remember correctly, the highest quantity of tea ever imported to Britain was in 1955.
    I’d search out the link for you, but I’ve only had two cups of instant coffee so far this morning and I’m still not fully up to speed

    • Frank Davis says:

      “Is this a coffee I see before me,
      Its hilt towards my hand?

      I know that hilt doesn’t make sense,

      Actually, ‘hilt’ makes perfect sense, given that the lines in Macbeth that I had lifted actually go:

      Is this a dagger that I see before me,
      Its handle towards my hand?

      And, actually, the handle of a dagger is more usually known as a hilt.

  6. margo says:

    Thanks, Frank, I enjoyed that – lovely piece of writing. I’m a coffee person, me, but similar scenario and it takes me a good 2/3 hours of meditative smoking/coffee drinking to get the day going. Such is the joy of not having to go to work, rush about and be somewhere by some ungodly hour. I never make morning appointments.
    I know a couple of health-freaks who ‘gave up’ tea and coffee (I expect they’re out of bed and doing their exercises within minutes), but I suppose neither of those drugs quite cuts it for the witch-hunt because they’re not smelt much and objected to by non-partakers. It’s the smell of smoking that causes all the trouble – pity the manufacturers can’t make it smell like roses and Christmas cakes and fresh-brewed coffee, then none of this would ever have started.

  7. mummybest says:

    Mirror image here with the tea and struggle to get up in the mornings whilst happy staying up late !!
    I wonder if smokers are the ‘owls’ and non-smokers are the ‘larks’
    Churchill and Darwin were ‘owls’ and smokers.

  8. Rose says:

    Now I’m more awake.

    Happy St.George’s Day.

    Cry ‘God for Harry, England and St. George!’
    http: // – optional

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    East Nashville Co-Op employee stabbed during smoke break

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. –

    An employee at an east Nashville Co-Op is fighting for his life after he was stabbed when stepping outside for a break Monday afternoon.

    According to a police affidavit volunteer worker Jessie Summerour went outside to take a smoke break just after 2 p.m. at the east Nashville Cooperative in the 800 block of Main Street when he was approached by Ricky Merryman.

    Officials believe Merryman stabbed Summerour in the chest at least two times after an argument.

    Merryman tried to run off but was followed down the street by a Good Samaritan who called police.

    As police arrived, several witnesses pointed Merryman out as the alleged stabber. Upon searching Merryman, police found a bloody knife in his pocket. Officers said he smelled of alcohol and Merryman later admitted to drinking a fifth of vodka.

    Merryman later claimed “I came back because he threatened to kill me and I stabbed him. I didn’t do anything wrong.”

    Summerour was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to be treated for life-threatening injuries.

    Merryman was booked into the Metro jail and was charged with attempted criminal homicide.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The Smokers’ Graveyard

      In Memory of all the smokers driven to their deaths by smoking bans

      Shalema Gaskin shot outside Brookdale University Hospital,
      New York PUBLISHED: 10:02, 12 December 2012

      Boy, nine, died after his mother set him and his brother on fire as a punishment for smoking

      A mother who killed her nine-year-old son by setting him on fire as punishment for smoking has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

      Smoking ban drove German barkeeper to suicide Tue, Apr 08, 2008 AFP BERLIN –

      A GERMAN barkeeper who hanged himself left behind a suicide note blaming a new public smoking ban for his decision, Bild newspaper reported on Tuesday.

      A few of the deaths during this war on smokers.

      If the Tenn ban were abolished this man would not have been stabbed,he could have been safe inside!

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank thanks for keeping the smokers graveyard up its becoming very handy as a source in the cause!

  11. roobeedoo2 says:

    Coffee, rollie, ipad with a Frank Davis post to read – that’s how I like to start my day.

    Smoking whilst reading, it’s my favourite past-time and if I didn’t have to work for a living, it’s all I’d want to do.

  12. Rose says:

    There are many similarities between the history of tea and tobacco.

    Early discussions about tea and health

    “Wealthy philanthropists in particular worried that excessive tea drinking among the working classes would lead to weakness and melancholy. Typically, they were not concerned with the continuing popularity of tea among the wealthy classes, for whom ‘strength to labour’ was of rather less importance!

    The debate rumbled on into the nineteenth century, but was really put to an end in the middle of that century, when a new generation of wealthy philanthropists realised the value of tea drinking to the temperance movement.

    In their enthusiasm to have the working classes go teetotal, tea was regularly offered at temperance meetings as a substitute for alcohol.”

    Which may give us a glimpse of the future.

    Tea smuggling and taxation

    “In part, its high price was due to a punitive system of taxation. The first tax on tea in the leaf, introduced in 1689, was so high at 25p in the pound that it almost stopped sales. It was reduced to 5p in the pound in 1692, and from then until as recently as 1964, when tea duties were finally abolished, politicians were forever tinkering with the exact rate and method of the taxation of tea.”

    “One unforeseen consequence of the taxation of tea was the growth of methods to avoid taxation – smuggling and adulteration.
    By the eighteenth century many Britons wanted to drink tea but could not afford the high prices, and their enthusiasm for the drink was matched by the enthusiasm of criminal gangs to smuggle it in.

    Their methods could be brutal, but they were supported by the millions of British tea drinkers who would not have otherwise been able to afford their favourite beverage.

    What began as a small time illegal trade, selling a few pounds of tea to personal contacts, developed by the late eighteenth century into an astonishing organised crime network, perhaps importing as much as 7 million lbs annually, compared to a legal import of 5 million lbs!

    Worse for the drinkers was that taxation also encouraged the adulteration of tea, particularly of smuggled tea which was not quality controlled through customs and excise.

    Leaves from other plants, or leaves which had already been brewed and then dried, were added to tea leaves. Sometimes the resulting colour was not convincing enough, so anything from sheep’s dung to poisonous copper carbonate was added to make it look more like tea.

    By 1784, the government realised that enough was enough, and that heavy taxation was creating more problems than it was worth. The new Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, slashed the tax from 119 per cent to 12.5 per cent.
    Suddenly legal tea was affordable, and smuggling stopped virtually overnight.”

  13. smokervoter says:

    It was nice to see that the New Zealand journalist was able to see right through the despicable Mr. Stantz. He’s probably the foremost, widely recognizable hate-monger on the planet. Afterall he spends a great deal of his time denormalizing one quarter of planet earth. It doesn’t get much more devious than that. Denormalize is liberal speak for hatred, pure and simple.

    I loved the fact that she used the term ‘Yoga bores’, ‘rich socialists’ and ‘parents of “gifted children”‘ to describe people who rub her the wrong way.

    I got in there and read some more of her stuff and I gotta’ say, she’s my kind of woman.

    When I was a young, upstart 70’s male I wasted untold time and energy chasing well-toned but utterly stupid Yoga chicks. I mistook their contortions for potential great sex. Truth be told many of them turned out to be so eastern religion brain-fried that they bordered on frigidity.

    No offense intended towards any left-centered women who comment frequently here, as there are always exceptions to the rule, but contrary to my some of my earliest misconceptions, centre-right women are usually prettier.

    Sarah Palin is a good example of this. My ex-wife is a dead-wringer for her.

    • beobrigitte says:

      When I was a young, upstart 70′s male I wasted untold time and energy chasing well-toned but utterly stupid Yoga chicks. I mistook their contortions for potential great sex. Truth be told many of them turned out to be so eastern religion brain-fried that they bordered on frigidity.

      I can’t say anything about the Yoga “chicks” of the 70s, naturally they were of no interest to me. (I abhor organised exercise and also stirred clear of 80s aerobic lark)
      As a young female in the 70s I did meet some sort of other-planet-ish males who could not even qualify for the title of hippie-era-leftover.
      Whatever ?Indian stuff they fried their brains with, I don’t know. I fell asleep listening to it, so needless to say, we didn’t get to the undressing stage, let alone more. I didn’t mind them telling me “I’ll give you a ring” when I left, but I hated it, when they did. I wish I’d thought of introducing these guys to the Yoga freaks I knew.

      I have to agree, this New Zealand journalist is blessed with refreshing COMMON SENSE.

    • melinoerealm says:

      Is there a link, to enjoy? :-)

  14. nisakiman says:

    When I was a young, upstart 70′s male I wasted untold time and energy chasing well-toned but utterly stupid Yoga chicks. I mistook their contortions for potential great sex. Truth be told many of them turned out to be so eastern religion brain-fried that they bordered on frigidity.

    Ha! That’s lovely! :)

    I have to say I had my share of spaced-out hippy-chicks in the late 60s early 70s, and I found them most accommodating – even the ones from New York! They mostly left the sack-cloth and ashes in the locker at the meditation class.

  15. nisakiman says:

    I’m a big fan of both tea and (real) coffee. I make a coffee in the morning (in one of those decagonal Italian espresso makers you cook on the hob – I have an electric espresso machine, but this is the way I like it in the morning, with hot milk and demerara sugar) which I will then sit down and accompany with my first GV rollie of the day, meanwhile reading the ‘Telegraph’ online. I need about an hour to prepare myself mentally for the day. I tend to mostly drink tea during the day, as my tolerance of the levels of caffeine in the coffee I like to drink has dropped as I’ve got older, and if I drink too much coffee, I get a bit wired. I like Assam and English Breakfast teas, and I can well understand how people can become “addicted” to tea in a similar way to that which smokers are “addicted” to tobacco.

  16. beobrigitte says:

    Frank, reading your post today made me think about the colour of my inets; I start my day by stumbling downstairs, mumbling something about ‘should-have-gone-to-bed-earlier’, on reaching the kitchen putting the kettle on. To shut the moaning pets up I throw some food in their bowls and put COFFEE into the filter and make a pot of it. The coffee smell by then warms me up. I make some toast and settle down to have breakfast. THEN I pour another cup of coffee, grab the ashtray and light up. The first thoughts enter my head. Usually it is the pet food; one of my pets is allergic to most food – I go back and check – and change the bowls to their usual order. Then I pour another cup of coffee, light up again and enjoy waking up fully until I look at the clock and say:”Oh! SHIT!!!! Late again for work………”
    In the afternoons and evenings I prefer TEA (2milk+2sugars) and later a glass of beer or a nice whiskey.

    I guess, my inets are as coffee and tea stained as my lungs are stained from all my smoking. I’m glad that beer does not stain………..

  17. Reinhold says:

    I hardly drink three cups of tea a year up to now.

    Lately I thought I safely could consume more of this precious beverage.

    But now I’m afraid I’d become an addict. :-(

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      If it FEELS GOOD just DO IT!

      • Rose says:

        In my opinion,hardly drinking three cups of tea a year is still overdoing it, Reinhold.
        The only time it’s bearable is when my neighbour makes Indian tea, now that IS delicious.

        • nisakiman says:

          By Indian tea, do you mean the way they make it in India, Rose?

          If you drink it on the street there (I’m talking 45 years ago, but I’m guessing it will be much the same now), they throw everything into a bowl and boil it up. Tea leaves, buffalo milk, sugar and maybe a bit of cardamom. All in the pot together. It’s yummy! Sweet and creamy, but with a hint of bitterness from the tea. The upper classes (castes) would drink ‘Separate Tea’, which is how we are accustomed to drinking it, with a teapot, jug of cold milk and a bowl of sugar, to be mixed in the cup immediately prior to drinking.

        • Rose says:

          Yes, Nisakiman. She uses cardamom and cloves, and theres something that looks like cinnamon , but I have never seen the rest of the spices she uses before and haven’t a clue what they are.
          She gave me a pot of her home made spice mixture and some brief instructions so I could have a go, but when I tried to make it at home it all went horribly wrong.

  18. junican says:

    Likewise here in most respects.
    About a year ago, I returned home for a holiday in Spain and, having drunk many cups of their excellent coffee, found that I had no taste for the rubbish nescafe and stuff. I went totally of coffee and stuck to tea. First think in the morning, fag and kettle on. Oddly, enough, if I wake up early for a pee, I have no desire to smoke at all – back to bed.
    I prefer to make my own. I like it just so, even though I use tea bags; just under half a spoonful of sugar and only a little milk. Perfect!
    I am addicted? Certainly I am – if addiction means ‘a strong desire to……’.
    I think that Grantz is addicted to propaganda.

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