Posts Tagged ‘tea time’

I’m a reformed coffee drinker. Otherwise known as a tea fan.

Ally posted recently about her assortment of tea flavors, and it reminded me that I have… a lot of tea in my house. 

Since I cannot remember my origin story as a tea drinker, I will instead give you a tour of my tea. 

I have so much tea, it has to live in two places. This is the tea drawer in the red cabinet in the dining room.

It was so fun to read about how many of you have strong thoughts on herbal vs. black tea, and I will say that I have equally strong feelings about tea. The first feeling is that I don’t really understand what herbal tea is! Which is probably pretty understandable, considering that I drink black tea 95% of the time. 

My favorite is Earl Grey, and its variations. I love me some bergamot. The very best Earl Grey tea I have ever had was at a little brunch place in Montreal. I ordered a pot of Earl Grey and it was so floral and delicious that I wrote down the name of the tea they served and have asked for it for Christmas every year since. (It’s called Uncle Grey and its made by Tea Squared in Canada.) 

Extreme close up of my tea drawer! I have a bunch of Double Bergamot and then some regular Earl Grey as a backup. There’s also a lovely, fragrant lavender rooibos in here… but it makes my tongue feel funny when I drink it, so I stopped drinking it.

Because Uncle Grey is pricey, it’s not really reasonable to drink every single day. (That’s why it makes a great gift.) So I’ve had to come up with some acceptable alternatives. There is a lot of bad tea out there, folks. My favorite is Double Bergamot Earl Grey by Stash. I can often get it at a local grocery store, and if not I can order it by the 100-bags from amazon. 

My mugs are there on the right. The ones with cats. Also the one about being a writer; I will write about that later. I have a third giant mug, but it’s in the dishwasher.

I drink an enormous cup of tea every morning, and I use two tea bags to make it strong enough. I read somewhere that you do not strengthen tea by steeping it longer, you strengthen it by using more tea bags. (Steeping it longer can make it bitter.) If memory serves, I read this years ago in the first Cormoran Strike novel by Robert Galbraith/J. K. Rowling, so I’m not sure if you should take it as gospel; it is advice that has served me well, however. 

This hastily snapped photo does not quite adequately capture how enormous my mug is. I think the mug on the left holds 8 ounces; mine holds TWENTY.

Despite liking my tea strong, I don’t like it black. When I make Earl Grey or Chai, I always add sweetener and half-and-half. I use about two tablespoons of half-and-half, so my tea is a lovely tan.

My second-favorite tea is matcha. But the way to make matcha good, in my opinion, is to make it with milk rather than with water, and that is sometimes usually more of an effort than I care to make. You will note that my matcha is encased in a resealable bag inside a Zip-loc bag, because I have learned from bitter experience that it is a bitch to clean up matcha powder that has spilled all over my pantry. 

My third-place tea drink of choice is probably a tie between Chai and green tea. If I order tea from Starbucks, for instance, I almost always order a Chai latte. But if I am having a second cup of tea during the day, I will make green tea. I like the grassy taste, although I sometimes add a little plop of honey. I enjoy jasmine green tea quite a bit; I guess I like flowery tea in general.

My tea collection includes a wide variety of teas other than Earl Grey, matcha, chai, and green tea. Sometimes I browse the shelves and shelves of teas at the store and think, “Hmm, perhaps I am a rooibos person!” (I am not.) or “What I need is a tea with winter spices!” (I do not.) Then I buy them and try a cup and hate it and go back to drinking my same old, same old. 

My husband enjoys some of the winter-spice teas, but contrary to my original assumption, which was that the winter-spiced teas I am posting here are his, he actually has all “his” tea in the same drawer where he keeps his coffee. So this is all tea I have purchased in hopes that I will magically become a different person.

I requested these for Christmas one year, and got them. They were fun to try, but I did not enjoy them. I think I got them two, maybe even three years ago and I only had two of them before deciding they weren’t worth it. I threw them out after taking this photo. The little box is cute though. Carla rescued it from the trash and has Big Plans for transforming it into something.

The chamomile is a different thing, though: I have chamomile because my mom used to make it when we weren’t feeling well. It was part of the Sore Throat Regimen (which also involved gargling with hot salt water). Even though I’m not a huge fan of the taste, it is comforting because it reminds me of my mother, and how tenderly she took care of me when I was sick. 

I much prefer a tea bag to a loose-leaf tea. This is something I continually try to revisit with myself, because the tea bags produce a lot of waste. I have the matcha, I have some micro ground tea, I have some loose leaf tea. I have a little tea brewer apparatus, into which you can pour your tea leaves and your hot water; once the tea is done steeping, you balance the little apparatus on top of your mug and it drains the brewed tea into your mug, leaving the leaves inside. It’s ingenious, really. But it’s difficult to clean (and you aren’t supposed to put tea leaves down your drain) and it doesn’t fit on my mug because it’s too giant. I will continue trying to train myself away from the tea bags though; it’s a terrible, wasteful habit.

Once, I went to a friend’s house for dinner. After dinner, she brought out this beautiful teak box with a hinged lid, inside of which were a dozen different teas I could choose from. It struck me as so fancy, and so hospitable. I, on the other hand, have a plastic bin filled with teas of all sorts that sits in my panty next to boxes and boxes of other tea. If I ever become a fancy person who enjoys having people in my house, I will certainly be getting myself a lidded box in which to offer my guests tea. (In the meantime, maybe it would make a good hostess gift?)

It seems as though I am doing NaBloPoMo this month, which is 30 blog posts in 30 days. (Will I make it??? Only time will tell.) Details at San’s blog here.

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