Chamomile Time: Dried Fruits and Flying Tearooms

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Unique happenstances occur when you roommate with family members. Certain rituals become apparent and develop in the oddest of ways. Classic example: I live with my younger brother. For the most part, he is a non-tea-drinker. Beverages of preference? Juice, dark beer, and those weird spinach/flax seed shakes he makes in the evening. (Not bad, though.) However, he does have one tea vice...chamomile.

Well over a decade ago, he read mention of chamomile in a book about gnomes. Ever since then, an evening cup o' chamo was a staple for him. He later passed on this affinity to me. Unfortunately, my first tests with said relaxing beverage were on a night shift, thus leading to a rather drowsy performance at five o' clock in the morning. But I digress.

Sometimes in the week, our schedules coincide. We make the best of that time by brewing a pot of hot water and relaxing over a cup of chamomile prior to passing out. Events of the day or week are discussed until the conversation devolves into tired mumbles and snores. The dialogues often start out logical enough, but our trains of thought gradually derail as the chamomile tea has its way with our mutual consciousness levels.

This exercise in sliding into stupor has come to be called "Chamomile Time". It even has a theme song. No, I will not sing it.

One such trade-of-quips fell on the subject of tea ingredients. I was musing over how much flavor dried fruit imparted to a tea blend and whether the pieces themselves were freeze-dried or sun-dried. We, then, thought of which fruits would work with which teas. This led to a trip to Trader Joe's the following day.

He picked up a batch of sun-dried apples, I went for the berry medley bag. When we returned home, I prepared a helping of rooibos and hibiscus, littering the various berries within. I steeped the concoction for about five minutes and awaited the results. The herbal miasma tasted like a tart rooibos infusion...with a slight hint of berry. Conclusion: Moderate failure.

Later on that night, it was Chamomile Time. Instead of opting for a usual plain batch, we decided to plop my brother's sun-dried apples in with the heap of loose buds. We let the chamo combo steep in boiling water for five minutes as well. The chimeric results were astounding; light chamomile smoothness with a tangy apple finish. As an added bonus, it lasted a good two more infusions.

Although we later learned that most professionally-produced blends used flavoring agents to bring out more taste, our home-spun variety was at least halfway successful. Some fruits gave off more flavor than others. Then we waxed on the idea of dehydrating fruits ourselves. That in turn segued into a brainstorm about the perfect tearoom.

My brother wondered, "Wouldn't it be great if someone made a teashop that was right out of Harry Potter? Y'know, books everywhere. Jars of boiling water. Like potions."

I chimed in, "Oh yeah, several jars of water behind the tea bar, each boiling at different temperatures for different tea types."

"Yeah-yeah, and in the back, there'd be an herb garden," he said. "And the owners could cook and dry the herbs on site. Dehydrate them like in a steampunk sort of way."

"Oh wow, a steampunk teashop!" I exclaimed. "And from the outside, there'd be a windmill for processing. Make it look all authentic-like."

We weren't stoned, I swear. But this was about the point where the potent chamomile blend kicked in.

Bro sighed, "There should be a fireplace inside, too, with a gigantic rug in front of it. Resting by the fireplace would be a Saint Bernard and a Ragdoll."

A bit of a backstory about this, we often mentioned what our pet preferences were. He desired a dog while I preferred a cat. Saint Bernards and Ragdolls were our chosen breeds. Our dialogue deviated at that point.

"Or better yet," I said. "What if the Ragdoll cat was running the teashop?"

"Wait...what?" was all my brother could muster.

"No, hear me out. The cat would be huge, and he'd be the one serving tea."

"Okay, now you lost me," bro replied.

Apparently, he was picturing an actual place, whereas I imagined a fictional scenario. From there, though, a funny thing happened. The idea stuck. While on a road trip to California, the notion of a cat-owned steampunk teashop lingered in the back of my mind. Worse, I pictured the Saint Bernard running the deli half of the establishment. That shot off into picturing the tearoom residing on a floating island in the sky - accessible only by magical steam locomotive - and the teawares themselves bestowed magical properties.

Egad, I had a story idea.

Chamomile Time hasn't sparked creative "genius" like that in the tired, devolved dialogues since. Yet it still produces odd digressions. My brother thinks the story idea that stemmed from that one conversation belongs in the discard pile, while I believe it might be my first foray into children's literature. Lord help the next generation. Either way, never underestimate the power of a dried apple and an unassuming, sleep-inducing flower. You might get lightning in a bottle, or a scene most marijuana users aspire to.

Every tea tells a tale, and every tale's to a "T".
Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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4 Responses to “Chamomile Time: Dried Fruits and Flying Tearooms”

  1. Tea Musing - “Chamomile: Dried Fruits and Flying Tearooms | Lazy Literatus Says:

    […] The details of that conversation can be found HERE. […]

  2. jamie Says:

    wonderful! Enjoyed this very much.

    IMHO the St Bernard shouldn’t be running the deli, he’d be too unhygienic with all that fur. I think a snake should run the deli. A nice snake.

  3. Geoff Says:

    The very issue of slobber is addressed in the book. (Once I get around to writing it.)

    And, no snakes. Never snakes. Indy taught me that.

  4. “The Flying Tearoom of Tally Furrowbrow” - (A Children’s Novel Treatment) | Lazy Literatus Says:

    […] with this idea for a children’s novel since late-January. The story behind it can be found HERE. I’m just as shocked as you are that I even thought of something that didn’t involve […]

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