You can easily get settled into one or two favorite teas, drinking them all the time. Usually, a breakfast blend black and a basic green are the choices — the former as a caffeine jolt in the morning, and even at lunch and during your mid-afternoon break; the latter because you read somewhere that green tea is good for you (weight loss, cancer and diabetes prevention, lowering high blood pressure, etc.).
Which black and which green is often a matter of one (or more) of these reasons:
- It was on sale at the store.
- You got to sample it and then bought some.
- You used to drink it in college (or high school) and are used to it.
- You got some as a gift from well-meaning friends or relatives.
Let’s face it — you’re in a tea rut! Have no fear, though, for the solution is close at hand.
The first way to get some “rut relief” is to learn more about tea. You can do this by going online and looking up tea information, buying a good book or two, or hanging out with someone who knows more about tea than you do. You can also sample different teas and pick a few you like to expand your repertoire. A lot of tea vendors have sample sizes that cost less and give you a chance to try without making a big commitment or ending up with so much tea that it goes stale before you can drink it.
You might want to visit a tea shop where sampling is part of the shopping experience. They might have a “tea of the day” ready and waiting for your appraisal, or they might steep up a tea of your choice that you can try first plain and then, if needed, with some additive or other: a little sweetener, a squeeze of lemon, a teaspoon of honey, maybe some milk, etc. Don’t miss a chance to inhale the fragrance of the dry tea before they steep it. That aroma can tell you a lot.
Tearooms are another possibility. You usually get to try a potful and purchase some of the dry tea if the taste suits you. I’ve come across some real humdingers that way. There’s a vanilla-flavored black tea that I still have a little bit left of and can’t bring myself to use, not being able to buy more. That’s one of the downsides of buying tea at a tearoom — you may not be able to get more, especially if you move “out of range” (like to the opposite coast of the country), or they may discontinue the blend.
Recommendations from die-hard tea drinkers is another good method for expanding your tea experience. Be aware, though, that everyone has his/her own biases. Some swear by pu-erhs, while others drink nothing but Darjeelings or Assams. Still others drink herbals that are only called “teas” but contain no part of the Camellia Sinensis bush (some of these can still be very tasty experiences, as long as you know that they are not true teas). Take any recommendations with caution. What they like, you might not, obviously. However, it will be well worth the risk. You could find a tea so enchanting, with a fragrance and taste beyond compare and quite addictive (in a good way) that you’ll never go back to the teabags full of dust again.
Happy tea hunting!
Get out of your Internet-surfing rut by visiting A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!