By nature I am a coffee drinker, and by coffee drinker I do not mean the sort of latte-cappuccino-skinny-sprinkle-of-nutmeg kind. I mean the hardcore, high-caffeine, microwave the pot made yesterday kind of coffee drinker, the "69 cents beats 99 cents" consumer who eschews taste for effect.
A coffee drinker with one purpose, which is to ingest as much liquid caffeine as he can without alkaloid-overdose jitters.
Yet there are times when a hot cup of tea sounds especially inviting, like during my current bout of laryngitis. There is a soothing sensation with the consumption of tea that coffee cannot match, and I prepared my first cup of tea in many months this afternoon.
While the Lemon Earl Grey teabag steeped, I paused to inhale the steam from the boiling water, allowing the vapors to radiate throughout my sinuses. Earl Grey, for non-tea drinkers, contains oil of bergamot; while there are dubious pharmaceutical claims made about this citrus oil (including its use as fat burners), its aroma certainly perks up the senses and calms the mind. As I absorbed the tea vapors, my iPod changed to Pink Floyd's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond." At one point in my life I might have wowed by some perceived alignment of pan-dimensional forces, but for today I just enjoyed the moment.
I keep the teabag in the hot water as long as possible, preferring a strong and bitter tea over a languid, warmed over brew. Normally I avoid additives, but today I added a teaspoon of honey to soothe my irritated throat. A lecturer can lose most any appendage, but the inability to speak is a deal-breaker, unless you arrive prepared with a voice synthesizer. Tomorrow will be the true test of tea as a laryngitis palliative, as I am scheduled to deliver over four hours of lectures, though thankfully I have several hours between each class to allow my ravaged vocal cords to recuperate.
If not, I have a bottle of vile-but-effective Buckley's Cough Syrup as a backup.