First Things First - Time for Tea!

I don't consider myself to be a particularly fearful person. I mean, sure, I dreamed last night that I was in a dark parking garage with only an electric lawnmower (with a dead battery) to fend off the lurking presence in the shadows, perhaps indicating that I have a fear of lithium batteries, (or of parking garages), but that's neither here nor there.

My real fear is an unfiltered cup of tea.

You laugh? Well, okay, you're allowed. But the grossness of an unfiltered cuppa has haunted me ever since my first such experience, after moving here, to Southwest Minnesota, the land of hard water deposits.

I'm actually not exaggerating. Well, not too much. Here's the facts, Jack: When black tea is made with hard water, an insidious chemical reaction takes place between the polyphenols in the tea and the calcium carbonate in the water, resulting in a film of scum that forms on the top of the water. Know what I'm talking about?

It floats there, on the top of your tantalizing, tasty tea, taunting you.

"You wanna drink? You'll have to go through me."

"I do, want a drink, yes! But ewww! Must we play this game?"

And game it is. The nasty floaties, though they don't affect the flavor of your tea at all, cover the surface of your tea, making it look icky. Then, when you take a sip and the level of the tea recedes, that scum leaves an unattractive film on the inside of your cup which takes a bit of elbow grease to remove. Even dishwashers throw up their hands in surrender when faced with tea scum.

There are a few ways to combat this. Rumor has it that a drop of lemon juice will produce a thinner layer of film on the top of your tea, as the acidity works against said scum. Additionally, Earl Grey tea is supposed to work in the same manner, as the bergamot within Earl Grey contains anti-scum properties. My bet is that lemon juice will help to clean off the brown from the inside of your mug, too...unless,  of course, you deliberately leave it there, browning up the sides of your mug, in an attempt to look manly and unafraid of such loathsome things as tea scum.
I claim no such title.

Instead, I bought myself a "Kettle Scale Collector, 1 x 1 x 1", stainless steal mesh" from Amazon. My sister gave me one years ago, when we first moved to SW MN when I complained to her about this perplexing phenomenon. I'm not sure what happened to that wiry bit of mesh because we soon discovered the purpose of that tall, salt-filled filtering system in the basement and tea scum ceased to be a fear for me. But now, here in my office at church -- you wondered how I was going to bring God into this, didn't you -- I have had cause to remember the need for that 1 x 1 x 1" bit of steal.

How good God is to help us handle our fears!

Makes me think of Psalm 23. Tea scum may not be equivalent to the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and it may be stretching it to say that the enemy is calcium carbonate, but still, the image of that table prepared for me...with floaty-free tea in a cup that runneth over...well, I call that goodness and mercy.

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." Psalm 23:5,6 RSV

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