Text read by Mary Peters

Monica, in Dublin, reminisces about tea during her childhood in Romania.

Hmm, TEA. That takes me back in time when my father used to brew tea out of cherry stems for our breakfast. Nothing special, but the colour and the aroma of the tea will stay with me forever.

Memories flow when a subject like this comes up. In cold weather drank tea, caffeine-free, with a lemon twist and some sugar, to keep us warm. But the best tea was the one we had after a sleigh ride, skiing or snowball fight. How nice it was to hold a cup of hot tea with my frozen hands and smell the sugary liquid with a hint of lemon juice.

Later on, I saw some fancy porcelain cups specially designed for tea. They were as big (or small) as a coffee cup. Then one day, I saw a set of fine China porcelain, for four, with a teapot and a milk container. I asked my mum about it and what kind of tea people drank from that pot and why don’t we have one like that? From that avalanche of questions, I only got an answer to keep me satisfied for a while. It was something like people around the world having different customs and she told me about Russians who drink tea from a very large pot called a samovar.

In school, we studied English as the first modern language (the second was French- or we could choose Russian as well). There was a lesson about “5 o’clock tea” where a typical teatime was described. Not at all the same as in real life.  

I grew up, and I didn’t think much of tea as I started to like coffee. Until I saw a picture of a nice teapot, and I felt the urge to draw it. Such elegant lines…It was a long time till I started to drink (have) tea again. I looked it up on the internet to find out more about tea and rituals and where tea is more popular. It is fascinating how much one could find out by typing a word, compared with earlier times, when one had to search in libraries to find a specific thing.

Nowadays, we have a cup of tea every evening, caffeine-free, sugar-free and guess what my favourite tea is: Cherry & Cinnamon.

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