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Confessions of a Tea Drinker

Confession is good for the soul – or so the saying goes. So without any further ado, my confession. I have not consumed hot tea for a very long time. I’d like to be able to say how long but it just sort of crept up on me and so I’m not really sure. It’s probably been at least a year now, at the very least.

Ti Kuan Yin Oolong served cold
Ti Kuan Yin Oolong served cold

Which is not to say that I don’t drink tea. I actually drink it in amounts that are probably not so good for someone who doesn’t respond well to caffeine. It’s just that at some point I decided that I preferred my tea cold rather than hot. This goes for any type of tea I drink, whether it be a nice robust cup of Assam, a colorful Japanese green, an aromatic oolong or one of those relatively rare forays into herbal/tisane type beverages (mostly rooibos).

I’m not sure how or why this came about, but I suspect it has something to do with climate. Living here in southern Arizona it can be a bit daunting to contemplate a cup of steaming hot tea when the temperatures are well over 100 degrees and when grown men are weeping and the birds bursting into flames in the sky. While I’m aware that people in other hot regions, such as north Africa and the Middle East, often consume tea and other hot beverages in spite of the heat that doesn’t make the prospect any less daunting in my book. Then again, even when the temperatures fall into the fifties and sixties, during what passes for winter around these parts, I still drink tea iced, so I’m not sure if the climate theory is really sufficient to entirely explain the issue.

I guess if I had to pin down any reasons why this has come to pass I’d say there are primarily two of them. Since I drink so much tea in the course of a day’s time I find it more convenient to just whip up a larger quantity and stash it in the refrigerator. I know there are a lot of people who find the ritual of preparing tea to be an integral part of the process but I’m not one of them.

My primary reason for making the switch to iced tea is simply that I don’t like to drink tea hot anymore, although when it comes to the term “iced” I should probably clarify things a bit. Unless it’s a blazing day I tend to drink tea that’s not quite “icy” but that also has not had a chance to reach room temperature. I haven’t done much research into the matter – aside from my own experiences – but it seems that the extremes of the temperature range aren’t really the optimum temps when it comes to getting the optimum flavor from tea.

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7 responses to “Confessions of a Tea Drinker”

  1. […] Not that I’m convinced, mind you, and like so many Americans my choice of tea during the dog days and the rest of summer will be a nice cool glass of iced tea. No word, by the way, on whether drinking iced tea in cold weather can warm you. But I doubt it and although we’re still drinking iced tea during the dog days most of us will be turning our thoughts to what hot tea might be best to soon ward off the winter chill. That’s present company excluded, of course, but that’s another story and one that I’ve related here. […]

  2. […] All of which means iced tea season is approaching. Never mind that for some of us, it’s always iced tea season. I’ve already written a few articles about my curious tea drinking habits and though my Esteemed Editor will surely cringe, I’ll direct you to one of them. […]

  3. […] offbeat tea-related quirk. I won’t go over the basics of it again, since I already did that here, but suffice to say that I’ve totally forsaken hot tea in favor of the iced stuff. Yes, […]

  4. […] the taste of a cup of tea. First of these is the temperature of the tea. As I mentioned in an article here some time back (much to the mild consternation of my esteemed editor), I’ve taken to […]

  5. […] some of us, though, this is a year-round thing. As I noted in an earlier article, my tea intake these days is exclusively iced. Perhaps it’s because I live in a warm desert […]

  6. […] Confessions of a Tea Drinker, by William I. Lengeman, III […]

  7. I like my tea cold most of the time and occasionally a good hot cup is in order. The beauty of it is that you can have it your way.

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