Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. ~T'ien Yiheng

Fucking Tea. Do not attempt to keep us apart.*
 Tea...is a religion of the art of life.  ~Okakura

It is not a new or cool thing, my obsession with tea. An entire cupboard is dedicated to various kinds, many bought by the ounce (oh, green metal tea, I adore you).

It goes beyond plopping a bag into a mug. But I am not quite as obsessed as to have a ceremony dictated by all tea repasts past.

Any tea lover can tell you there are many different kinds one can have with mood and purpose in mind.

For pure flavor, sure, stick to the Earl Grey or Oolong (monkey picked?), Pekoe, Ceylon, chai (which means, simply, tea) or black tea.

Go ahead, smother it with sugar or honey or milk. It's malleable and welcomes variety. Though once a you find your fix, that's it. Tori Amos was pressed to drop an ardent suitor because a boy should remember what a girl takes in her tea.

 "So, I had to get this song together in about 2 hours. And this boy really pissed me off, because I had a crush on him, right...and he'd been making tea for me for nine months. And so, the whole thing is...he would sit there and ask me... Now if you're making tea for a girl, right, for 9 months don't you think, guys. I mean help me out here. Your noodle, it can hold a lot of information, right? But don't you think, you can remember how many sugars a girl takes in her tea after 9 months!" [Tori Amos, US Hey Jupiter single, intro to song]

Green tea for those of a healthy bend leads one to make a choice from a plethora of greens. It would be easy to grab a box of Lipton. But tea whores like me like their greens in a bag with a number self inscribed, weighed and top rolled.

Greens are so popular that their flavors are infused into chocolate, cake, soups, Kit Kat bars, Pepsi, ice cream and Starbucks frappes.

The smell is heavenly and is often played against jasmine or sandalwood in scents for the earthy girl.

But then we dip into teas for health. For stamina (usually with ginseng, in which case herbs and fruits are aided so you don't have to taste that awful bitterness on its own), dieting (questionable ingredients I often can't pronounce), sleeping (chamomile is a classic ingredient as is Valerian, another stinky, awful tasting herb in need of peppermint to make it palatable), detoxing (the Yogi Detox tea is actually incredibly tasty - as for it's claims, not the bittiest clue), teas for pregnancy, teas for an upset tummy (peppermint will always do you right), etc.

My taste buds, ocular needs and odoriferous love is most often met with TAZO tea's Passion blend.
The hibiscus flowers, passion fruit, mango, orange peel, licorice root, cinnamon, rose hips (a touch tart), and lemongrass make this tea gorgeous on every level. Just the tiniest addition of honey make it sublime. Um, I really like it.

Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.  ~Catherine Douzel

Most grocery stores and mega-stores end up with a shelf devoted to Celestial Seasonings tea. It is well deserved. They have straight forward teas like green, cranberry, red zinger, and peppermint (which I mix with many other kinds that need a gentle nudge toward tasting good) but their herbal mixes are well known. They have echinancea and vitamin c laden wellness tea, a detox blend, the classic Sleepytime tea and my favorite, Tension Tamer.

This has been a main stay in my household since I was in high school. The promise made by the art on the box was enough for a first buy. The taste and the fact that, by gosh and by golly, I really do feel like a could ride a dragon after a cup (a small dragon - a bug cup) keeps it in constant rotation in the tea cupboard.

The Republic of Tea makes my all time favorite brand. For those who don't partake in alcohol, Rainforest Tea has been imbibed with great effect sans the complete lose of control. Pau D'arco is a tremendous mood enhancer but the addition of allspice, star anise, vanilla bean, rooibos, and cinnamon with exotic spices makes it taste like your on vacation.

They make a fantastic mate,  a lovely and subtle rose petal black tea, so many kinds of oolongs that I haven't been able to try them all, a classic chai, as well as some wonderful wellness teas.

We haven't even gotten into the joys of buying bulk teas! Or flowering teas! Or the teapots themselves. But this is a fine start.

And certainly a great insight into some of the contents of my kitchen.

* you can get the Fucking Tea mug here.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I quite liked the Tension Tamer. Thanks for reminding me to get another box. It's been awhile.

I love drinking tea. I tend to stick to Chinese teas like jasmine, chrysanthemum, pu-erh, ju pu, etc.