Finally! A tea that I actually might love. A tea that I might be able to substitute for my afternoon cup of coffee.
My love for coffee is tangible, ardent, as deep as the ocean, and involves an everyday ritual (addiction? nah). My love for tea is more for the idea of it–it involves a hazy picture of a shady balcony, a soft wind blowing, a homey and beautiful teapot and teacup, and myself sipping the tea with my feet up and some improving literature in my hand. In this idyllic vision, though, I think the tea probably tastes a lot like coffee. Yep, the tea IS coffee. I wave the misty illusion away, go get the French press and grind some beans.
Obviously, it’s an ongoing struggle. The reason for the struggle is this: I love coffee, and I love, love, love to make teapots. I love to use teapots, and I must use them in order to test the final products of my teapot-making obsession. I never feel like having tea, and I always feel like having coffee–but I feel strongly that in order to someday realize the perfect teapot (an eventual goal of mine, however lofty), I must be not only a tea-drinker, but a tea-lover. And I don’t think I can get there by dumping sugar and milk in every cup of tea until it tastes of tea no more. Sigh.
So I’m trying to cultivate a love affair with tea, and it’s been arduous.
I think I started on the wrong foot: I own a lot of varieties of tea, and since I don’t drink it too often, most of it is old. (Hello, self: isn’t forcing said self to drink tea made out of stale and inferior leaves just tightening the thumbscrews?) I did finally go to the local health food store and purchase myself some bulk teas–Irish Breakfast Tea, Oolong, and Yerba Maté.
And behold! Making Irish Breakfast tea in one of my teapots, pouring it into a favorite mug, then adding honey and milk (in moderation) took me straight back to drinking Lipton’s as a child and watching the milk hit the bottom of the tea and unfurl to the surface like a tiny, fast-motion stormcloud in a cup. I don’t know if it was this or the taste which I actually loved back then, but both make me love it now. Bottom line: I enjoyed that first cup. Breakthrough!
You tea aficionados, don’t judge me. I know there’s better stuff out there (see, I’ve progressed in my lifetime from Lipton’s to Frontier loose tea), and I’ll get there.
I’m working on the Oolong. I haven’t had the courage to try the Yerba Maté yet.