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The Great Tea Journey

 

2015-02-03 14.04.06

I want to learn to like hot tea. It looks so comforting when others drink it. I picturing cuddling on the couch with a warm mug of tea in my hands, or maybe sipping some on a blustery afternoon. It just seems so…genteel.

My first experience with tea wasn’t a very good one. I think I was six years old. My teacher invited all the girls (don’t start) to a tea party at her place. I remember staring at the pretty cups and saucers, and loving the way they looked against the tablecloth. The little dishes for milk and sugar, along with the tiny cookies, just made my heart go pitter patter. It was a real live tea party with real live people. I was beyond entranced. A fairy story, come to life.

And then I tasted the tea.

And promptly spit it out.

It was so incredibly bitter. It tasted like gnawing on licorice (which I hate) mixed with medicine. I tried adding milk, sugar. More sugar. More sugar. A few more lumps of sugar. I wound  up with a concoction of watery syrup that still tasted so bitter my lips curled. I remember pouring it into the toilet, eating the cookies, and wondering why I was the only one who didn’t like the tea.

As an adult I’ve tried tea here and there. I don’t mind iced tea on occasion (Lipton, the kind my mother makes), as long as I’m eating something like BBQ. I kind of like the chai tea from Starbucks every now and then. But what I’m hunting for is something more. Something I’ll look forward to drinking. Something that makes me smile at the end of the day. Is that too much to ask?

So to that end, I’ve sought advice on what kind of tea will convert me from tea hater to tea lover. I received so many fabulous suggestions, I couldn’t decide which to try. So I didn’t…I’m going to try them all.  I’ve ordered samples from several places, both loose leaf and tea bags. All kinds of teas…I can’t even remember what I picked. I ordered a steeper thingie too because I’m a sucker for point of purchase temptations, even online. The first of the batch arrived today. Most of it made it into the picture above. I may have gone a bit overboard. But it’s all in the name of research, right?

And now I think I will require a special tea cup. Possibly a saucer to go with it. Because special tea requires a special cup, yes?

5 comments on… “The Great Tea Journey”

  1. I only drink fruity herbal teas (with Splenda, please!), which is particularly nice at the end of the day, when it’s cold, or when you’re sick (oh, I down it by the gallons when I’m sick). I hate all other kind of tea except the nasty powdered iced tea mix in the can (diet/decaf, please!). Good luck with your tea journey–can’t wait to see where you land!

    [PS: gentile? gentle? genteel?]

  2. Bitter tea generally means it’s brewed too long. If you find the tea is bitter, try brewing it for a minute less. There is no hard and fast rule about how long it should be brewed, just like there’s no rule for how strong coffee should be. You need to find what works for you. Over three minutes is way too long for me for tea. And if it’s straight black tea, treat it like coffee with cream and sugar. Or add a flavored liquid sugar and no cream. I go both ways.

    Also, I HATE green tea. I’ve tried to like it, but I can’t. I’m just not a fan, at all. Chai is really good, just don’t over-steep it. One tea I suggest trying is the Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice. Herbal, but soooo delicious.

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