I have a confession. Persians can be very ethnocentric….when it comes to one thing. Their tea. “No one makes tea as good as us!” you may often hear Persians say. “Our tea is Tea. What everyone else drinks….Well, whatever it is, it’s not tea.”
My mom and dad rate coffee shops based on how well the baristas prepare tea. Wait, not just coffee shops- hotels, wedding receptions, restaurants, banks. “Why banks?“ you may wonder. Well, banks often have a table with complimentary tea. And where there’s tea, there is judgement to be passed.
When we first immigrated to the United States, my father could not comprehend “flavored tea.” Lemon Tea? Orange Spice? Cinnamon Tea? Raspberry Tea? “That’s not quite tea. In Iran, we call that herbal medicine. It’s medicine! Not tea.”
As you can imagine, only drinking tea prepared at your own house or at the house of the friend-whose-tea-you’ve-approved poses quite an inconvenience. Especially when you must drink at least four cups of tea every day to survive, and even more to thrive. What if you want tea on the road? What if you’re traveling? Well, where there is determination, there is always a solution.
Solution #1: When spending the whole day outdoors or out of town, find the nearest friend-whose-tea-you-approve to visit.
Solution #2: Keep an Emergency Tea Preparation Kit in your car at all times. Yes, my parents have one and it lives in the trunk of the car. Recently, my sister bought a car, and she also has one.
In this kit, one will find a life-saving device called a Jetboil. Amazon describes the Jetboil as “a dependable cooking stove and boiler that gives you gourmet even at the summit.” What neither Amazon, nor the Jetboil company knows is that this product would be a best seller in Iran if it were simply advertised as, “Emergency? Tea in minutes!”
Then, when you need a hit, pull over to the curbside, or to the nearest parking lot, and brew tea. Whenever, wherever, Jetboil is here for you.
Solution #3: Keep a Contigo (or another vacuum insulated thermos) in your handbag at all times. Of course, you already have approved Middle Eastern or South Asian tea bags of black tea in the emergency kit, in your dashboard, in your purse, and wallet so no worries there. Then, shamelessly do as my parents did in Italy. Enter an exquisite, Italian cafe, serving delicious cappuccinos and fine hand-pulled espressos and ask, “Excuse me, can I have some very very boiling water in my Contigo. Extra Hot. Like burning hot please.” Then, take a tea bag from the ziplock bag in your purse, put it in your Contigo, find a table, and sip away!!! For this one, no drawing would capture the reality. So here’s a real photo.
Photo taken in Rome’s most famous, most visited, café. Trip Advisor describes it as offering the finest cappuccinos in Europe. The cappuccino is mine.
Note: When reverting to solution #3, your daughters, sons, friends, relatives (or anyone accompanying you) may choose to sit far away, on the other side of the cafe with their hand-pulled Italian cappuccino, pretending they don’t know you. Please do not take offense.