Rituals: the first cup of tea


What do your mornings look like, first thing?

Mine start before the sun. I tip-toe into the children’s room and turn on the AC to take the chill out of the air before they wake up, then I walk downstairs and, before anything else happens, I fill the kettle and flip it on.

All those little morning tasks: letting the cat out, turning on the downstairs heat, finding the kids’ clothes for the day… all performed to the whoosh-and-hum soundtrack of rapidly boiling water.

Click. Kettle’s done. Steaming water over tea, a dash of milk, that first sip so hot it’s almost painful but oh so good on the back of my throat.

I take my tea and sit down. Sometimes I write, sometimes I draw. Or I write letters, read letters, listen to podcasts, read a magazine. But always, there is the first cup of tea of the day. The early morning is my special, quiet time, while the rest of my house sleeps, and I could not imagine starting it without tea.

I didn’t always keep this ritual. For many years I was a “breakfast first” kind of gal, only moving to tea or coffee mid-morning. But many years ago, while visiting Melbourne on a work conference when I lived in Sydney, I stayed with my good friend Deb in her home. I was feeling a little (a lot) lost in my new job, but I mostly remember that week as a wonderful time of celebrating my friendship with Deb. She was an extraordinarily generous host. She chauffeured me around the city for my conference; took me to different pubs and restaurants every night (where we were ridiculous and believed we were hilarious like only old friends can be); and every morning, as soon as we woke up, she made me a cup of tea. The first cup of tea of the day.

All these years later, I can still picture the corner of her share-house where a tall, gas radiator was attached to the wall, like so many other old houses in Melbourne, pumping out new heat. I can still feel the warmth of the tea Deb had made me, as I cup the mug in my hands.

And every morning, when the scalding hot tea soothes my throat and kick-starts my day, I smile a little smile, and think about Deb.

What about you? What are your morning rituals?



  • Linda in Willow Spring

    Oh, I am still on the 31st of July in the USA! But…tomorrow morning I will start my day with the kettle. Sometimes it’s tea and sometimes it coffee and cream. I sit cozy in the corner of the sofa and read and watch the morning sun brighten up the home. No children to check on…all grown but not far away. Sounds wonderful to me, your mornings. You have a blessed day and I’ll have a restful night!

  • Deb @ Blossom Bomb

    I read this and thought… are you talking about me?! (in disbelief) lol… and yes you are! Aren’t you gorgeous! You know, the title of this post in my email alert completely attracted me and I had to read immediately. Turns out there was a good reason for that! I’m so touched that you think of me this way! PS I can’t even remember making cups of tea for you! I do however remember YOU always making cups of tea for me when I visit. It seems we are tea girls. :)

  • joy

    Oh I love a good cuppa, as do most of us Brits!!!

  • Emily

    This is lovely! I usually have a cup of coffee first thing (iced, since it’s so hot here in Texas), and a cup of tea in the afternoon. Now I’m thinking that I need to switch those!

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