I love tea. Hot tea in winter, cold tea in summer. I was recently gifted a perfect 2-cup teapot by a generous friend with an overabundance of them (teapots, that is – one can never have an overabundance of friends). Having used tea bags most of my life, my eyes were opened to loose-leaf teas a few years ago when a Teavana store opened in my local mall.
Walking in my first impression was, Oh, my goodness! It’s… a wall of tea! Black tea, oolong tea, white tea, herbal tea, teas whose names I can’t pronounce! They generously provide samples of four blends, both hot and cold, which change with the season, month, or sometimes the week. Having tried the four blends they had and admitting to my tea salesman that I knew very little about tea other than I liked herbal stuff, I liked caffeine, and I LOVED chai, I was persuaded to buy a 6-ounce blend of Maté Vana and Rooibos Chai. I got home. I boiled my water, carefully measured out my tea into a tea ball, and proceeded to make my chai. Oh, goodness me! It was heavenly! I was hooked on loose-leaf!
Over the few years since then I have also acquired some others: a blueberry tea and, most recently, a tin of English Breakfast (aka, plain black) tea.
How I came to be hooked on black tea (with a little bit of sugar and some milk!) is an entirely different story, involving multiple flights, several delays in strange cities, and a 12-hour train ride through Scotland. Suffice it to say, I am addicted to the elixir.
Now, none of this is an advertisement for Teavana – it just happens that they are my Local Tea Shop. I have not had the opportunity to try any others, although a new tea store has recently opened in the same mall as Teavana. Mayhap I will give it a try next time I go to buy tea.
The point is, tea is an elixir from God. All those jokes about the British drinking tea to solve their problems? I know now why they exist. Tea is relaxing, as mildly sweet or bitter as you want it, as milky or watery as you choose. It’s a lovely escape in every sip, reminding you (or at least, reminding me) to stop for a second and enjoy the little things, to pay attention to my senses. All of them.