Tuesday, January 23, 2018

let's talk about tea

The problem for me with posting on controversial topics is that I always regret it. But once I've started, I feel like I have to see it through, and then I just want the whole thing to go away.

So now I'm posting about tea.

About ten years ago, I realized I was going through the day with an upset stomach. And then I noticed that if I didn't have my coffee until late, the upset stomach didn't start until late. Finally--you'd be surprised how long this took--I figured out that I needed to quit drinking coffee. 

Switching to tea was the obvious solution, but you know, tea doesn't have that same bite that coffee does. It took a looooooong time for me to make the switch to being a happy tea drinker.

Then, being an obsessive sort, I started the search for my favorite tea. I've tried more kinds of tea than I can count--green, white, black, red, herbal, fruit. All of them are OK, and I still drink all of them occasionally, but for morning, for me, only black breakfast tea will do.

I've tried Stash, Taylors, Twinings, Bigelow, Republic of Tea, Celestial Seasoning, local brands, and probably others I can't remember. I'll decide I've found the best one, but then I'll hear about something else and off I go again.

So in case you ever have to go through this yourself, I'll save you a few steps by telling you what I've learned.

Tea is so individual, there's really no point to making a recommendation. Even more than coffee, I think, people like what they like. I would drink a mediocre cup of coffee back in the day, but I'll go without rather than drink a tea I don't like (for example, Earl Grey--can't stand it).

For the record, I switch between Taylors Scottish Breakfast and Yorkshire Gold. Amazingly, they are both available in grocery stores here in Montana. I don't add sweetener, but I do add milk (plain soymilk for me, which I know some object to strenuously, but it works for me). 

It definitely makes a difference to pre-warm your cup, even if you all you use is hot tap water.

If you want it stronger, use more tea-- steeping it longer makes it bitter. But ymmv-- I said that to a friend, and she said she never takes the tea bag out.

I've read that using re-boiled water decreases the flavor of your tea, but I've never been able to tell the difference on that one.

I still get annoyed at how long it takes to make a cup of tea. I've got an electric kettle, so I start the water heating, use hot tap water to warm the cup, then once the water boils, dump out the tap water, pour boiling water over the tea bag, let it steep for four minutes. I use a timer, because otherwise I either get impatient and don't let it steep long enough, or I forget about it and come back to a stone cold cup.

The whole thing takes about 7 or 8 minutes, which is considerably longer than the olden days when Dean would run a pot of coffee when he got up and then I could just pour my cup when I got up.

I guess that tells you exactly how much patience I have. I do try sometimes to relax and enjoy the ritual, but usually I just want a damn cup of tea.

Finally, finally, in the last six months or so, I've started craving tea. I guess now, instead of being a coffee drinker who is settling for second best, I'm offically a tea drinker. At least I'm in good company (i.e., practically the entire United Kingdom).

You can’t get a cup of tea big enough
     or a book long enough to suit me. – C. S. Lewis


Betty Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you, Tea is so individual, there's really no point to making a recommendation.
Varieties, steeping times, strength - your perfect cuppa may be another tea drinker's nightmare.

Your friend never takes the teabag out? When my mom took the family to a café, the other day, my BIL left the teabag in when he drank his second glass.
Bit of a strange sight, not just because he left the teabag in, but because it was attached to a not exactly small piece of cardboard. 😀

BarbN said...

OMG!! I've never seen a teabag attached to a card like that! Yes, would definitely remove that one.