Tea can soothe, calm, and bring a state of mind that would make someone on the Titanic as it sank regard the event as just a bad day at sea. Tea can invigorate, enliven, revitalize, stimulate, strengthen, and increase alertness. At least, these are some of the claims being made about this beverage that is second only to water as the most popular on Earth.
In reality, a lot of what you get from tea depends on what you want from tea. It’s sort of a psychological trick akin to having certain preset attitudes before starting a task, project, etc. To illustrate, I will tell you this little tale from my past:
Once upon a time, long, long, loooooong ago, when I was in high school, we had a class that was required and that was taught by one teacher in the school. He had taught this class for many years, and, as the saying goes, his reputation preceded him. That reputation was basically negative: harsh grader, gave lengthy reading assignments, tended to do a lot of personal story-telling in the class, considered himself rather humorous but was really not, and so on. Now, I could have gone in to this class with the preset attitude that it was going to be boring and a lot of effort. I could have. But I didn’t. Instead, I went in with the attitude that this experienced teacher had a lot to teach, that I had a lot to learn, and that it was overall going to be a great experience. Guess what? It was! I was the only “A” grade in my class. And I’d learned a lot, too!
With tea, you can build up certain expectations about its taste by reading descriptions on the tea vendors’ websites. Often, these are meant to entice you to try the tea, but that can backfire if you don’t have the same taste experience as in the description. If you read something like “the aroma is wonderfully fruity like ripe melons and the liquid has nutty, fruity notes with a round finish” but your experience is more like “someone took a rotten cantaloupe and stuck it in a batch of tea leaves which steep up a liquid that tastes like a garbage disposal that people have been putting scraps into but never grinding up and rinsing out,” would you be happy? I sure wouldn’t. If you read that the tea “smells fresh and grassy” and you think it’s “smooth, planty, and mildy sweet,” that’s better. You weren’t given expectations that were way out of line with the taste you experienced.
Tea descriptions, if they are fairly accurate, can help you select the right tea to meet your need, be it a vibrant cuppa to start you off right in the morning or a soothing cuppa to unjangle your nerves at the end of a tough day. Imagine if you got that backwards and were soothed at the start of your day, then ended the day with something stimulating. Hm…maybe that would be a good thing!
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