As tea drinkers try more teas, they get more favorites, and their tea pantry grows. Sometimes, that tea pantry can get, well, a tad overly large, to the point of taking over your house.
Decades ago there was a joke about the Hearst mansion being large enough to have its own zip code. Lately, it seems that my tea pantry is nearing that status.
It all started fairly innocently, as most things often do before they turn into obsessions and end up getting totally out of hand. I wanted something a little better than Orange Pekoe tea dust in a bag with a string and tag attached. A local store had Typhoo (still dust in bags but more special than what I had been drinking for years). They also carried PG Tips (unfortunately, also bagged). Then, I saw Twinings English Breakfast, available both bagged and loose in a generously sized tea tin. I bought some of each. These were just the beginning, the proverbial tip of the ice berg, day one out on the ocean for Christopher Columbus and crew, the first step in Lewis and Clark’s great exploration, one small step for man, one giant leap for me, a fledgling tea drinker.
Taking these home, I discovered that the corner of a shelf in the pantry was going to have to be expanded to half a shelf (it’s a small pantry). If only it had stopped there…
Next came exploration into some of the more “exotic” (to this newbie) brands: Mighty Leaf, Numi, Revolution, The Republic of Tea, and Harney & Sons. My half shelf was now a full shelf.
Then, I discovered tea shopping on the Internet. It was like Ali Baba gaining access to the cave of the 40 thieves. I, a rather older Ali Baba (and female, of course), gazed upon Website page after Website page filled with teas of every description as that young lad must have gazed upon the piles of gold and jewels in the cave. One order led to another, which led to posting a blog and then sampling various offerings. My shelf was now three shelves in the pantry, a shelf on a bookcase next to the kitchen counter, and most of a small shelf unit tucked into a corner by the microwave stand.
Organization is the key. I could do it by tea category. Black teas here. Green teas there. And so on. Of course, with this many teas, some sub-categories are needed. Whole-leaf black teas here. Flavored black teas there. Bagged black teas on the left side. Whole-leaf green teas on the right side. Floral green teas up on top. Bagged green teas just under them. And so on.
Maybe organizing by company name is better. A corner for Harney & Sons. A shelf for Golden Moon. A couple of shelves for bagged black teas like Devonshire Tea, PG Tips, Typhoo, and Barry’s. And so on.
Right now, my system is sort of a mix of all of the above.
Of course, having its own zip code could be quite a benefit for my tea pantry. My tea orders could be delivered straight to it. No need for intermediary stops like a P.O. box or the front stoop. The latter is where FedEx and UPS delivery people tend to drop packages, which sit until either hubby or I happen to think to check there, which isn’t often since we hardly ever use the front door. One time a tea shipment sat for two days and got thoroughly soaked from the rainstorms that came through the area. Fortunately, the pouches the teas were in inside the shipping box were air and water tight, so all was well.
Hubby just remarked offhandedly that we might need to put in a loading dock so that the delivery trucks could back up and unload easier. I’m sure he’s kidding — isn’t he?
I’ll settle for my own resident tea butler to keep the growing inventory straight and make sure my bevy of teapots along with all of the tea accessories are clean and at the ready. Meanwhile, where did I put that Japanese Sencha Kyoto Cherry?
A.C.’s tea pantry is so large because tea is wonderful. If you’d like to learn about the wonderfulness of tea, stop by Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!