This is part of my new hobby series, all about exploring new hobbies. Because bucket list items don’t just have to be one-time things. They can be a big part of cultivating your own personal growth.
According to Snapple facts, “an average of three billion cups of tea are consumed daily worldwide.”
This means that five billion people on the planet do NOT get to drink a cuppa during their day. And that, is a travesty and a tragedy. You see, tea makes everything better. Feeling under the weather? Drink some tea. It’s gross and bleary and so nasty out that you’re considering relocating to a tropical island? Well, have some tea. Already happy and cheerful? Have some more tea anyway. Stay hydrated, kiddies.
So how to go about finding your tea groove?
My grandma wasn’t fancy about hers. She made Lipton on a kettle on the stove that gave a shrill cry when it was ready. She served it milky, in porcelain cups balanced on saucers, and with cookies that crumbled in your mouth after you gave them a good dunk. Oh, tea is such a comfort. While I could never turn my back on coffee, there is something self-soothing about waking up with a cup of tea instead.
And sure you can be hoity-toity about it. I went to school with a guy who was a big connoisseur of tea, and of spending money on dried plants in general. Still, it was lovely one day when I was sitting out in our complex’s quad with my roommate and he came out with a fresh brew of this delicious pomegranate black tea. We had a little tea party right there out on the grass. It’s such an easy way to pamper oneself.
But where to start? There are so many different flavors! I’ll give you a bit of a my likely inaccurate assessment of teas, to take you beyond just the Lipton teabags.
Earl Grey tea saw me through my trip to Europe, and when I came back, it was all that I wanted. I bemoaned our American culture of paper cups and rushing through everything. Was it too much to ask, to take the time for a proper tea cup?
Irish Breakfast is hearty. Green or White tea makes you feel healthy, like you could be one of those fabulously fit people who have yoga-themed Instagram accounts. Oolong is slightly whacko. Roiboos is even more so. Chai tea tastes nothing like a chai tea latte so be prepared for disappointment. (Or arm yourself with a LOT of sugar)
Herbal teas are good to mix things up and silly, and technically not tea, but hush, don’t ruin my fun. Chamomile is calming, but I overdid it with it years ago, so now I find it terribly boring.
Cinnamon Apple Spice will destroy your tea tin. It will infect all of your other tea bags with a faint taste of cinnamon and lies. Leave that vile stuff far, far away.
Where to buy your tea? Teavana is overpriced and basically the IKEA of teas. Don’t start there. I like to go to my local foreign/ethnic markets and peruse the different kinds they have. And there are some odd things out there that people have thought, “Hmm, let’s throw this into hot water for a bit and drink whatever leeches out.”
Like dandelion root. St. John’s Wort, which is allegedly, a natural antidepressant. My friend and I once conspired a way to sneak it into her crazy mother’s diet, but alas, our plans never fully steeped.
People can get extreme about any hobby, and tea is no exception. You can get the swankest metal pots. You can take the temperature of your water, time your steeping to the millisecond, and only use the loose leaves.
But you don’t have to. Just take comfort in your cup. Let it be a moment of tranquility. A moment to breathe. A moment of taking care of yourself. Just sip, and let the warmth chase away the winter inside of you. It’s easy. It’s reclaiming a space, one small moment that is devoid of the technology and the hubbub that clogs our lives.
And it’s lovely.
And if you want to read your tea leaves, well, silly superstitious me, certainly isn’t going to judge you. Just be sure to invite me over for a cup, too.