As a child I didn’t drink tea; my parents did, but my sister and drank squash. I don’t even remember when I first started drinking tea; the first hot drink I had was cocoa (not drinking chocolate) that we had before bed. later we had Horlicks which I first remember when we were on holiday in a holiday camp (think Hi-de-Hi!) My parents always had percolated coffee for breakfast – it was coffee and chicory actually, real coffee was too expensive. The first coffee I had was instant, when powdered coffee first came our way, made by Nescafé I think, in a small two ounce tin… can you believe it when you see the massive jars we have now? But tea… I’m not sure when I first began to drink tea.
My dad was not only an owl, he was also a lark; he needed very little sleep and would be up as soon as it was light in the summer, and before dawn in the winter. This was a time when he might catch up on reading the newspaper, maybe do a bit of digging in the garden, and have a pint of tea. Quite often he would invite the milkman in for a cuppa, the horse and milk-cart waiting in the road outside our house… maybe the horse was given his horse-bag of breakfast hay. My dad had a big pint mug and he would have his morning pint every day.
I don’t remember beginning to drink tea, probably when I was a student; although I used teabags like everyone else for speed and convenience, I also still preferred leaf tea. By the time I was living in my own hose with a small garden, I had a teapot and when it was finished i would do as my dad did, and throw the leafs onto the lawn… composting!
Now my husband and I drink tea first thing, taking it in turns to get up and make a pot; like my dad we have pint mugs and make strong ‘breakfast’ tea. We use strong black tea leaves but quite often add a different sort of leaf… once it was Rose Pouchong, then gunpowder green tea, at the moment we add a ginger and lemon herbal tea… but I still have coffee with breakfast!