What’s Interfering with Your Tea Enjoyment?

We tea drinkers have lots of challenges, things that interfere with the enjoyment of our tea. As with any endeavor, we need to first indentify what these things are and then determine how to keep them from negatively affecting the tea experience. Pretty standard operations, actually!

Is that baked squash with butter and garlic interfering with your tea enjoyment?
Is that baked squash with butter and garlic interfering with your tea enjoyment?

Identifying the culprits

  • Strong tasting food and beverages that dull your palette.
  • Allergies and head colds that dull your senses of smell and taste.
  • Lack of time to do a proper steep for the tea you’re having.
  • No store nearby where you could buy anything superior to that stale tea dust in a bag brand at the grocery store, and your order from the online vendor hasn’t been delivered yet.
  • No special place where you can prepare and enjoy your tea.

Negating their interference

If you love spicy foods, be careful to pair them with stronger tasting teas such as masala chai prepared the authentic way with a fair amount of milk. Another option is the have the spicy food and then wait awhile before having some tea. A bit of water with a few drops of lemon juice in it will also help cleanse your palate after eating those tacos, that Szechuan chicken, or the lamb vindaloo. If you are worried about long-term effects on your tastebuds from eating a lot of spicy foods on a regular basis, you might have to change your food eating habits, sticking with more mild or even downright bland foods such as white rice and tapioca. Hm… don’t think that’s right for me…at least as long as my tummy can take the spice!

As for health issues such as allergies and head colds, I know that hubby, who gets some rather severe allergy attacks, can neither smell nor taste not only tea, but anything else, when suffering these maladies. He is usually right in there with me at tea tastings, sniffing the dry tea, and then sniffing and sipping the liquid — except when his allergies kick up. One option is for you to wait it out — when the allergy clears, you’re back in business. This is pretty much true for head colds as well. You can go with a better option: some teas can actually make you feel better. One in particular is a black tea with peppermint, which can help clear your swollen nasal passages just inhaling the aroma, but is said to be even more effective when you drink it. Go for some green tea when that allergy (or hayfever) kicks up. Several cups a day for a few days is said to really help.

As for lack of time, source of quality tea, and place to enjoy, these are solved by your own planning. Rearrange your schedule to include a tea time. Keep more careful track of what tea you have on hand so you can order far enough ahead to avoid running out or can drive that extra distance to a tea shop. Stand firm and declare a room or even just a corner as your own spot to sit, sip, and contemplate.

In short, let nothing interfere with your tea enjoyment!

See also:
The Stages of Tea Enjoyment  

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2 thoughts on “What’s Interfering with Your Tea Enjoyment?

  1. I’ve found that some teas are enhanced by strong-tasting or spicy foods, whereas others are overpowered by these foods. I haven’t noticed many patterns though, sometimes I’m surprised when teas tend to pair well with foods that I would not expect to go well with them.

    1. A.C. Cargill

      Yeah, that’s why I recommended stronger tasting teas with spicy foods. I go for masala chai, but others swear by Lapsang Souchong. Have also, like you, had some real surprises when pairing tea and food, but that’s for another article! 🙂

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