I love tea. As a dairy farmer, it almost seems sacrilegious to write those words.
    Of course, I love milk and drink my fair share every day. But I drink a lot of tea every day, too.
    I drink tea because I love the taste, I appreciate the health benefits, and I need the caffeine. Caffeine helps me manage my ADD. (Speaking of caffeine, why don’t we have caffeinated milk yet? Think chocolate milk for grown-ups. My favorite vegetable juice offers a version supplemented with caffeine; chocolate milk could, too.)
    One of the most delightful parts of drinking tea is the great variety of flavors available. (Bottled milk marketers, are you reading this? More flavors lead to more consumption.)
    If you ask my mother, though, she would tell you I have a tea problem: too many varieties to choose from. I believe Glen shares her thoughts. When a visitor recently asked if we had tea, Glen flung the cupboard doors open so he could conspicuously gesture to the entire cupboard shelf I have dedicated to tea storage.
    I do have an expansive collection: green teas, black teas, herbal tisanes, loose leaf, teabags, and silken pyramids. They are all packaged in assorted boxes, bags, jars, and tins.
    I just counted my teas out of curiosity. I have over 40 varieties of tea. (Do we offer our customers even four varieties of flavored milk?) Plus, I like to mix and match varieties – blackberry green tea with raspberry black tea, or lemon ginger herbal tea with Chinese green tea. The combinations are heavenly.
    Mixing tea varieties works well because I steep 16 ounces of tea at a time. Over the years, I’ve become a more utilitarian tea drinker. I don’t sit and sip a small cup of tea. Instead, I steep a double batch in a 16-ounce, stainless steel insulated travel mug.
    My tea mug follows me around the house, out to the barn, or in the van. The mug is covered so I can drink on the go without worrying about jostling my cup and spilling hot tea.
    In spite of my utilitarian tea habit, I still enjoy the ritual of boiling the water, steeping the tea, and slowly drawing in the first sip (even if it’s only to make sure the tea isn’t too hot). I often stretch or do my REACH exercises while waiting for the kettle to steam or the tea leaves to release their nuanced flavors into the hot water.
    A couple weeks ago after speaking to a group of college students at my alma mater, I spent a couple hours catching up with a good friend who lives near campus. As soon as I walked into her kitchen, she offered me a cup of tea. One of the many things we share is our love of tea.
    We sat together, sipping our tea, sharing stories. It was a wonderful visit.
    On the drive home, I reflected on our time together and realized I had forgotten how soothing it is to wrap my hands around a warm cup of tea and just sit for a moment.
    My insulated steel mug simply isn’t as comforting as a colorful ceramic teacup. It doesn’t warm up the same. Sipping isn’t the same.
    After that revelation, I resolved to enjoy my tea more. Now, in the evening, I make my last cup of tea for day in one of my beautiful teacups. I still rarely sit down to drink it – the bedtime hours are just too crazy in our house – but I do wrap my hands around the warm cup and let the warmth soothe my soul while I sip the hot brew.
    It’s remarkable how even these short moments of peace at the end of the day help me feel more calm all the next day.
    I sent my friend a note thanking her for helping me remember one of my favorite parts of drinking tea.
    Life truly is better when we connect with our friends. When we make time for soothing rituals – whether that’s sipping hot tea or some other way to be mindful. And when we find joy and peace in small comforts.
    Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 100 cows near Melrose, Minn. They have three children – Dan, 11, Monika, 8, and Daphne, 5. Sadie also writes a blog at www.dairygoodlife.com. She can be reached at sadiefrericks@gmail.com