Tea-ing up

Look what @yarnharlot made me do. Early tea time in San Francisco.

Stephanie has outed me as a teetotaler. Or at least as a tea drinker. (Beer and wine will remain my close friends.)

The tradition is new to me, adding a little structure to my work-at-home day, but I’m not stranger to the bags and leaves. Growing up as the son of a minister, I’ve survived hours upon hours of church coffee hours. With that comes experimenting with all forms of Styrofoam-cupped beverages. Not being a fan of sweet things, I wasn’t having any fruit juice or approximation thereof. Plus, it helped up my pretentious quotient to try to drink like a grown-up. Oh, the 70s and early 80s.

In recent years, tea was reserved for feeling under the weather. I’m a huge fan of Traditional Medicinals teas at the first sign of a sniffle. In lieu of tea, coffee and its barista-crafted forms have been my morning and special weekend go-to treats. I’ve often flirted with various forms of green tea, but never developed a habit. And like any good friend of lesbyterians and yogis, I can be trusted to have at least two herbals on hand at any given time.

Right now, I’m working through the many years of accumulated tea in the cupboard. It’s too unconsidered to call it a stash or a collection. What advice would you give a tea-newbie? Nothing fancy or fruity, just simple, traditional, tea-ish. I want to start with British, Scottish, Irish, Canadian, heck all of Europe. I’ll work my way more east in time… I’ve always wanted to experience a chanoyu ceremony, but that’s another blog post.

Let’s grab a cuppa. I steeping some Twinings Earl Grey as I type. It’s a place to start.

7 Responses to “Tea-ing up”

  1. Mel Says:

    Although it’s likely too sweet for your tastes, I find myself drinking primarily masala chai at home these days. I get my spices (Ceylon cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, mace, fennel seed) from Penzey’s and grind them up with mortar and pestle. My tea of choice is a good black tea – Irish breakfast works well. Peppercorn and fresh ginger give it a nice kick, and you could always tone down the sugar content to taste.

  2. Abigail Says:

    I would take a look at Teavana. They have some lovely teas. I prefer mine straight or with a little honey. Darjeeling is a wonderful blend and Lady Grey is a little easier on the stomach first thing in the morning.

    I also love a good Jasmine tea. You might check with Dani at Goddess Teas http://goddessteas.com/ for some recommendations too. Her blends are well praised.

  3. WillyG Says:

    I’m no tea snob, as I may prove in a moment, but I find Celestial Sesonings’ Sleepytime Tea to be nice to fall back upon in the wee hours of winter nights.

  4. Sarah Beth Says:

    Try my favorite: Taylors of Harrogate, Yorkshire Gold. Yum! It manages to be both light and robust, simultaneously….

  5. Ted Says:

    Have you been to Samovar lately? The Blood Orange Puerth is very good; so is the organic Breakfast Blend. They also have stuff on the website that’s not available in the shop(s).

  6. LeAnn Says:

    There are so many good teas that it’s hard to choose a favorite. Earl Grey is my default tea, but I really like the Republic of Tea blends – one of my favorites is blackberry sage. I also like their green/green apple tea.

    Sarah Beth is right about TH: I like the blackberry/elderflower from Taylors of Harrogate.

    Try the Upton Tea Company – http://www.uptontea.com – for loose tea as well as supplies (reusable bags, tea balls, pots, etc.). We’ve ordered several sampler boxes, as well as just sample size containers of their teas; it’s a great way to discover what you like without buying a whole box of teabags. One of my favorites is lapsang souchong – it’s smoked, and has a savory, smoky flavor that I’m happy to experience without having to take up cigars. 😉

    I’ve never taken up coffee, but tea can be both a great picker-upper and a slow-down-and-savor-the-moment beverage. I’ve got a whole desk drawer at work devoted to my teas, so I can suit my choice to my mood (or energy level).

    No affiliation to any company, just a devotee.

  7. Angela Says:

    ‘Cause I’m a little slow on the uptake…I fell in love with Stephen Smith Teamaker (from Portland) via the custom winter blend they do for Churchmouse. I just placed an order with them for individually-wrapped teas to send out with my yarn orders. The winter blend is amazing.