Our current favorite teapot is a duplicate of our old favorite teapot, which once belonged to my grandmother. Nanny was brought up poor and proud in the East End of London and, having grown up to not be poor, was very, very particular about her house and everything in it. The handful of things that were hers that are now in our house are all beautifully made, and beautiful to look at as well.
It was a sad day last winter when the teapot suddenly went CRACK and water began pouring out the bottom. I am sure it was at least thirty years old, a good run by any estimation, and had faithfully served up enormous quantities of tea day in and day out.
I immediately snatched it up and looked at the bottom to see who had made it, and ran to the internet to see if I could replace it. Well, I could, but it would cost rather more than I had expected or would ever be inclined to spend on a teapot on my own initiative. (This is often the case with Nanny-things.)
First I dithered. Was replacing it really going to work? asked a friend. It wouldn't be the same teapot, after all. Wasn't it kind of like buying a new goldfish after the cat ate the old one and hoping no one would notice? This was perfectly true, but I decided that it was what I wanted to do, regardless.
And I was quite right, it turned out. The new teapot feels just right and provides us with endless cups of excellent tea every day. Traitor to my race that I am, I usually order my tea from France, specifically from Le Palais des Thés. I also usually take my tea unsweetened, with milk.
Recently, though, someone mentioned sage tea in my presence, and my curiosity was piqued.
Sage tea apparently is the Jordanian/Bedouin analogue to the sweetened mint tea served in pretty Moroccan tea glasses all around North Africa and elsewhere. It sounded a bit medicinal and offputting, but I was assured that it was not. The Internet seemed to agree; a search turned up lots of people waxing nostalgic about the delicious sage tea they'd had in Jordan, and no one at all saying they didn't like it. So we gave it a try, and the next thing we knew we were drinking it nonstop.
I know nothing, unfortunately, of the proper preparation rituals. Are they as exacting as the Moroccan method? If you know, I'd love to hear about it. In the meantime, this approach yields something that tastes good to me. Maybe you'll like it too.
Where Moroccan tea is typically made with mint, of course, and green tea, to make the sage version (I'm told) you begin with loose black tea, say a nice Assam or Darjeeling. Add several sage leaves, dry or fresh, and a few cardamom seeds if you like, and steep the lot together in your teapot for about five minutes. Strain into cups or glasses and sweeten to taste.