Tea has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
It’s just part of my family ritual. Tea at breakfast, tea after dinner… we even stop every movie about half-way through to make some tea.
I think that might have more to do with the narcolepsy that seems to curse my family, but anyway, it’s just what we do. Tea was just one of those things that we “did”. If we fell off our bikes, our parents would pick us up, dust us off, and make us a cuppa. If we came home from school with a good report card, they would celebrate by buying a cake and making a pot of tea.
As you can imagine, I have become a bit of a tea snob. I’m kind of the revese of those wanky coffee snobs you meet. I can drink pretty much any coffee, but I’m very picky about my tea. Tea bags are right out. Loose leaf tea is the only way to fly, my friends. I have a number of suppliers that I use to make sure that I always have a wide vareity of tea. At the height of bachelordom, I had about 50 types of tea. At one point I even paid AU$100 for 30g of tea. I even convinced myself that it was fantastic and worth every cent.
Of course, the only way to justify having this much tea was to drink a hell of a lot of tea. When I was fansubbing and playing games I bought a 1 litre tea pot. I would make a pot of tea before editing a script or playing a game, and would drink it easily. When doing more time-consuming tasks (like timing an anime etc) I could easily smash through 2 pots. So when I started writing it was only natural that I make tea. A good scene would take a pot of tea, perhaps two. Even now I’m slowly sipping on a pot of Muscat Oolong from the very same pot that has served me for about 6 years now. I clean it regurarly, so you can barely see the stains of the hundreds of litres of tea that have fuelled my work, play, and creativity throughout that time.
Before writing a scene, I would think about what type of tea was best suited for the task at hand. For a romance scene it would be a light, flavoured tea. A dramatic scene might need a slightly over-steeped Earl Grey. A slice-of-life might be a green tea.
Because I’m not a very imaginative person, the concept of having Lilly and Hanako drink tea all the time appealed to me. I always kind of pictured Lilly having a similar upbrining as myself (in the “tea” sense that is) and hence her elegance and paraphenalia. Hanako, however, was just along for the ride. She wanted to spend time with Lilly, and saw getting interested in tea as a way to become closer to her. The teas that are described in the scenes that I wrote were the teas that I was consuming at the time. Yes, I am that unimaginative.