A little over three years ago, I embarked on what became known as the “tea life” where tea was to be more than just another beverage in my arsenal of thirst slakers. It was to become a way of life.
The “tea life” may not be what you think it is. I don’t wear clothing made of spent teabags or live in a teapot shaped house (like this gas station). Nor do I spend all my time traveling to tea gardens around the world and joining in the tea harvest, toting a basket or bag on my back to collect the leaves as I pluck them. I do not live and breathe tea and talk only of tea. Pretty close, but not quite. The approach is more where tea plays an important role in the normal daily activities in addition to being the first choice when I’m feeling the need for a nice cuppa something.
One of the first things that became clear to both hubby and me (yes, I have drawn him into the “tea life” with me) was that we wanted to taste the tea, not the flavorings that many vendors add to teas. There are exceptions such as Earl Grey, Jasmines, Masala Chais, and Pumpkin Spice Latté, but overall we tend to stay with the wide variety of teas that are of such quality that no flavorings need be added.
The next thing that became clear is that we wanted true teas (those made from the Camellia Sinensis plant), not those other things being called tea, including Rooibos, Honeybush, Guayusa, Yerba Mate, and various herbals or “teas” made from flower petals and dried fruit pieces. Chamomile is an exception — I can have a cup of that before bedtime and enjoy a very restful night’s sleep.
As time passed and we tried an ever expanding array of new teas, our “tea life” changed and of course will continue to change. We have been adding specialized teawares to our burgeoning collection, including regular teapots, some of those Yixing clay teapots (but sadly no teaboat or tea table yet), and most recently a wonderful and delicate yet useful glass gaiwan. Of course, we needed some specialized drinking vessels, too, such as some sipping cups.
We have found over the years, also, that certain teas are “staples” just as flour, sugar, and salt are. A nice breakfast blend tea, some black Ceylon tea, and even a green tea or two are good to keep on hand at all times. Some special teas are great to have around, such as Golden Yunnan or Yorkshire Harrogate. Hubby and I tend to like a nice cup of Genmaicha on a fairly regular basis as well. Other very special teas in our pantry are for in-between times. Things like Snow Dragon, Dragon Well (Longjing), Sencha, and various oolongs and pu-erhs. Japanese green teas are good to imbibe now and then with some sushi take-out from the local restaurant.
This “tea life” is definitely not over. As with many things, it’s a work in progress, with new teas to try and new teawares to explore. Give it a try!
Our House Shows We Love Tea
© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.