Just Making Do at Tea Time

The great Scottish poet Robert Burns was writing about a nest of mice when he penned that famous line about the best laid schemes of mice and men that go often awry. But it could just as easily refer to my plans for obtaining tea, which often seem to go quite awry, in spite of my best efforts.

Waiting for that order of high-grade teas! (ETS image)
Waiting for that order of high-grade teas! (ETS image)

One of the fringe benefits of publishing my own tea site for more than eight years and contributing to this one for about half as long is that I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of free tea. Which is all well and good but it’s pretty much the icing on the cake when it comes to planning for my tea drinking needs. It’s a sporadic kind of thing that tends to come in fits and starts and, as I’ve noted in these pages before, a great deal of the tea that’s sent to me is not really stuff that I’d want to drink.

So I’m forced to lay other schemes and for a while this meant buying tea at a local upscale market. They sold a few quite good teas from a well-known tea company and this was a fine solution for a time. I liked the tea and it was a short hop down the road whenever I needed to restock and I could supplement all this with those choice samples of something or other that occasionally trickled in. Then I drove by the market one day and was dismayed to find that it was gone – in the most literal sense. As in torn down.

All of which left me without a convenient way to get my hands on good tea. Which meant turning to mail order. Which meant planning and logistics and, first and foremost, allowing for shipping times so that I wouldn’t be caught short without tea. But in spite of my best efforts that’s exactly what seems to be happening lately more often than I’d like.

I try to plan ahead and order far enough in advance but it seems that more often I’m breaking out the so-so tea and using it to water down the good stuff or drinking it straight up. I guess having so-so tea or so-so tea mixed with good tea is better than no tea at all – but sometimes I’m not so sure.

On the plus side, the aforementioned upscale market was apparently torn down so that they could turn right around and build it up again. Which seems like a waste of time and energy but nobody really asked me what I thought. But with any luck they’ll stock the same teas again and I won’t have to just make do at tea time anymore.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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