Posted by: penpatience | May 1, 2017

AFTERNOON TEA – Inspiration in a Teacup!

WRITERS WORDS: “Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head.  It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.” – Ann Patchett 



     A coffee drinker most of my life, I never gave much thought to drinking tea. Like many other people in our country, I ‘m addicted to that jolt of caffeine every morning before beginning my day. The coffee pot is a fixture on the kitchen counter and ground coffee is a never-run-out- of staple in the pantry.  Yes, I occasionally drink tea and when I do it is with a Lipton tea bag dangling over the side of a cup of boiling water from a teakettle. Blah!

It wasn’t until I retired from the day job, visited a couple of tea cafes and became a writer that my attitude toward tea changed. What really got me hooked on taking time out for an afternoon tea break was celebrating my sister’s birthday this past winter at an English Tea Room located in Carefree, Arizona not far from her home in Phoenix. Tea was served in lovely English bone china tea cups and beautiful teapots hung from ceilings, lined shelves and graced glass-topped tables with a chosen tea of choice. Oh, and the goodies! Crumpets, scones with Devon cream, tiny cakes, cookies and pastries, tea-sized sandwiches with cucumber, salmon and an extensive selection of black, green and herbal teas. It was a cherished and relaxing afternoon.

This past year, when time permitted, Afternoon Tea became a new and welcome habit, a time to take a break from chores and discuss the issues of the day with friends. I never expected that duplicating an afternoon tea ritual would benefit my writing projects, but it did. When the weather is agreeable I sit outside on deck or patio, listen to the birds calling and singing in the nearby bushes and trees with a cup of my favorite black cinnamon tea and a favorite blueberry scone. Before I know it my mind empties, wanders about, and reflects about nothing and everything and very often the creative juices flow along with another pour from the teapot. When the weather is inclement and I can’t sit outside, I move inside to a favorite chair with nary a TV or radio to distract from my quietude. I pick up a pen and pad and free write or edit the work from the day before. Unfortunately, and many writing coaches counsel against it, I can’t stand to leave the previous day’s work with glaring typos or non-working words. I sip my tea while I read and edit the former day’s work before continuing on with the story.

When I began this Musing on Afternoon Tea, I discovered a plethora of information on tea’s origins, processing, benefits, etc.; too much to write about in a short post.

A few tidbits for thought:

  • Historical notes indicate tea originated in China some 5000 years ago around 2727BC.
  • All types of teas originate from the same evergreen tree shrub: Camellia Sinensis. More than 3000 varieties of this bush are grown in mountain areas around the world.
  • England’s Duchess of Bedford was credited with beginning the Afternoon Tea ritual which dates back to the 19th century.
  • Some helpful websites:
  • Short and Stout Tea(NY):, The Whistling Kettle(NY), ,Facts about tea:
  • English Rose Tea Room (AZ):, The Tailored Tea (NY):

You may already be a tea drinker, but if you haven’t yet steeped yourself in the Afternoon Tea indulgence, this new pleasure awaits. And, whatever your interests or hobbies, may your creative juices flow along with your favorite tea!




  1. What a wonderful piece on tea and on taking a break during the day. I love the idea. I prefer herbal teas myself (I get some amazing blends from Divinitea on Union Sreet) and I just might make myself take a break and drink some tea. Hopefully, I’ll get some inspiration! Thanks, Frances. Pat

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not much for tea (although every so often I’ll have the urge to indulge in various herbal teas), but this is a good reminder to take a break. Giving our brains a rest every so often helps to keep us going longer. Great post!


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