There are two cups of tea.

The first is a caffeinated drink made of, in some form or other, tea leaves and boiling water. It’s there because it’s a cup of tea, partly a symbol, though not of anything. This tea is the tea of drinking, the point being to sit and have a cup of tea, possibly while doing something else. Writing a journal entry, for example. It’s tea. It’s quick, and it’s easy, and it’s brown, hot and wet.

The second is the ritual. Ten minutes or so to draw and boil water; assemble teapot – remember to warm it (or use paper filters or something else); spoon out the correct amount of tea leaves; pour and steep to get the best flavour. Drop in, or over, some milk and – if you wish – sugar; and go back to what you were doing before. It’s a ritual, a natural break from your task and time for your brain to process what you’re doing while your hands perform a ritual you could do in your sleep (not recommended, scalding not fun). Return to the task refreshed and with a nice cup of tea.