A Tea Break

“Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities . . . will always be the favourite beverage of the intellectual.” --Thomas De Quincey (1785–1859), English author.

“…is there anything in the world lovelier than fresh warm bread and a mug of sweet golden tea?” -- Frank McCourt, 'Angela's Ashes’

Those are two of my favorite thoughts about tea. While I don’t claim to be an intellectual, I believe a cup of tea can help spark one’s thinking. It can give a kick physically. And the time spent sipping the tea is relaxing, allowing our batteries recharge.

Every consideration you’d give one of your tea guests, you must give yourself when taking a tea break. A pretty cup, saucer and spoon are all necessary elements. A cloth napkin, a tea tray and a comfortable chair can’t be forgotten either.

When taking a tea break, move away from your desk or work area, if possible. In warm weather, a balcony, porch or shady backyard swing provide the perfect setting. As it gets colder, a spot in front of the fireplace, a favorite chair at a sunny window or on a sofa underneath an afghan are nice places to take tea. For those working away from home, look for rooms that aren’t being used. An empty conference room, a little used library, even the board room are all places you might hide for a few minutes while enjoying your tea break.

An afternoon tea break should be a simple affair. Something sweet, something chocolate, fruit, nuts, a bite of cheese all make good choices. Unless you’ve missed lunch, there is no need for soup, sandwiches or salads.

In order to save more time to enjoy your tea break, brew your tea ahead of time and keep it hot in a glass lined thermos. At the appointed hour, you’ll need only to pour your tea and plate your tea goodies. This is an especially good idea for people at work where a microwave might be the only way to heat water.

Just as you savor your tea and sweets, now is the time to savor some music as well. Listen to every note, listen as the themes weave in and out, hear a bit of Bach in Busoni. While music is my favorite tea break activity, you might enjoy reading poetry, looking through an art or travel book or simply sitting with your own thoughts. I don’t recommend reading a novel, a book on your favorite hobby or making to-do lists. Those things engage your mind in ways that aren’t going to recharge you.

The little oasis of a tea break in the middle of the day will improve your attitude, fuel your creativity and provide a way to de-stress. Don’t feel you aren’t worth it. Don’t feel you don’t have time.

Tomorrow I’ll post some more tea break ideas, as well as, several recipes. These will be make ahead treats that can be packed in a pretty bag or basket and taken to your work area.