Monday, January 19, 2009


I love to tea, to drink, not to read about. That sounds obvious but it is not. I'm into the beverage, not the tea party magazines or the reading about the health benefits, if you know what I mean. Tea literature is too moon calf in tone, unlike coffee literature which is actually quite interesting. People who write about tea, at least modern people, are too ridiculously self declared "zen." That bores me. People who write about growing, harvesting and roasting coffee are realistic, that interests me.

I was neither a coffee nor a tea drinker until college, mostly because I was raised as many children of that time to stick with milk (as did many adults). The first tea I drank regularly was Constant Comment and Red Zinger, since that's what a friend introduced me to in college. Plantation Mint is, however, probably my longest favorite, drank from college until present time.

I don't like sugar, lemon or, heaven forbid, milk in my tea. That is because I have a palate for the tea flavor itself, not the enhancing or masking additives. Living in the South, though, I will drink sweet tea but view it as a soda pop substitute rather than a proper tea.

My favorite teas include Earl Grey, Oolong Souchong, Lapsang Souchong (once in a while as it is quite smoky and intense), Jasmine, English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Lipton, and the more traditional Green teas.

I like fruit flavored teas and fruit infusions but only once in a while. Once people know that I drink it once in a while they flood me with gifts of that type of tea when I'd rather have a regular tea. I used to grow my own lemon balm when I had a home and garden and make tea from it. I tell everyone who feels they are coming down with a cold to make and drink an entire pot of hot Peppermint tea and it will not only relieve symptoms but often curtail the length of one's illness.

I rarely bother to boil water or even heat my tea. I put a bag in a glass of distilled water and let it seep until ready.

I am a fan of the Japanese tea ceremony as a ritual to promote good will, friendship, and to make amends: the actual ceremony, not reading about it.