One cuppa, two cuppa, three cuppa, more

I'm not sure why, but on the boat I'm a tea drinker. In the States, I drank coffee pretty much all the while I was there and never thought twice about it. Perhaps, because everyone in the family drinks coffee; it's there, the Mr. Coffee is always ready to brew and it's just more convenient. David drinks coffee on every continent. But me, as soon as I step foot back on the boat, I put on the kettle for a cuppa and it's always tea. The problem I'm finding is that with the cooler weather here and my new writing projects, I'm sipping tea all day long. I'm usually up early and have my first cup before 0600 and then it's constant throughout the day. Heat the kettle, make a cup of tea and … the cup is empty again. I don't even remember drinking it all; it's just gone. My usual morning tea is regular old Lipton black although Earl Grey with its distinctive bergamot addition is a real eye-opener. I take it “white”, that is, with milk.

Australians drink tea...probably as much tea as Americans drink coffee. They stock Lipton in the supermarkets. Dilmah from Sri Lanka claims to be 100% Ceylon tea and is a popular brand here. Twinings makes an Australian Afternoon Tea that I have yet to try, but plan to. Lord knows I drink tea well into the afternoon. In fact, sometime I'm sipping my last cup as David is pouring the evening glass of wine. Interesting to note, if an Australian invites you to “tea”, it usually means a dinner invitation, not just a cuppa.

There are definitely lots of teas to choose from, no matter where we are. There's Perfect Tea from Papua New Guinea and there are Indian teas and Chinese teas available. I always judge the local population's interest in a particular food by the amount of shelf space that is allotted to it in a big supermarket. Tea definitely takes up a lot of shelf space in Woolworths and Coles here. My favorite tea from New Zealand was Black Adder, a strong anise tea that really made my taste buds stand at attention. It's got a huge snake on the front of it, but I like it anyway. South Africa offered their native rooiboos tea, but I was never able to acquire the taste for it. I never got into Argentina's bitter maté either. And then of course, there was coca tea in Peru, but we won't get into that.

We visited Celestial Seasonings Tea while we were in Colorado last summer. We enjoyed their free tour and stocked up on herbal teas. I love their “zingers”. Tart and tangy lemon, mango, acai, cranberry, raspberry. It's evidently hibiscus that gives their teas the “zing”. Bengal Spice is a wower. I'm not content with a “hint” of anything. I like whatever flavor I choose to be full strength. If it's cinnamon and clove...let me have it. And then, of course, there's the Celestial Seasonings artwork, quotes and interesting trivia on the box. Always a lift-me-up as I'm downing my fifth cup.