Some mornings are coffee mornings and some are tea mornings. The choice is somewhat dependent on what kind of coffee or tea we have in the house, and if a carton of half-and-half is in the refrigerator or not, but often it’s just mood. Generally, tea is a nurturing sort of morning; coffee, a let’s-get-going sort. Today tea is sitting beside me, sweetened with raw honey supposedly rich with enzymes. The propolis from the honey jar mounds up on the side as I dig for the smooth honey underneath. It would be interesting to track the average trajectory of days that start with tea and compare it with the average trajectory of days that start with coffee and make a study of it. But what would be the control? A day that starts with water? And how many days must one track in order to have a valid comparison? And how to rule out confounding factors, like the sound sleep of one night versus the turn and toss of another? Little of what comprises the start of a day can be isolated and measured.
In college chemistry I did a project of extracting caffeine from equivalent amounts of brewed coffee and tea and then comparing the extracted quantities. If I remember right, the results from one of the beverages was not as expected, and therefore, the study bore repeating. Somewhere in my basement is a box labeled "College," which holds, among other things, a lab notebook that I loved with a blue cloth cover and pale green grided pages. Somewhere on those pages are the details of the two mounds of white powder, their method of isolation and respective quantities. Nowhere on those pages, however, is the pleasure from either coffee or tea calculated, dissected, or otherwise explained.
From Virginia Woolf's, Between the Acts: