Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tea and Me, A History

I could review tea today, or I could talk about Thor 2 (I liked it), or how knackered I am, or how my experience with visiting Teavana today was pretty cool, but no, instead it is time for a story. The story of my story with tea, a question many have asked me. "So how did you get into tea?"
If a Cyberman says Drink Tea, how can I say no?
This question is easily answered, I was born to it! Ok, that is kinda boring so how about some history? My mother's family is Southern (I was born and raised, mostly, in Georgia) and we have an intense love of sweet iced tea. I mean really sweet, usually when making traditional Sweet Iced Tea I would use around a cup of sugar to the gallon. I grew up drinking that a lot, good times! My dad's side of the family was English (from Middlesbrough, actually) so there was a lot of hot tea drinking. It was a morning ritual, I would make my dad and myself a cup of black tea with two spoons of sugar and a dash of cream, so I got the best of both cultures.
messy creator, but you can spot my vintage teacup
As I grew up I would still drink tea a lot, tons of iced tea in the summer, hot tea in the winter, and still a cup of strong black in the morning. Of course I dabbled in greens and oolongs when I would go to Asian restaurants...but lets be honest, those are rarely good so I mostly ignored them for the familiar blacks. That is, until I was in high school and had my first job at a tea/coffee shop. I drank way too much coffee, but I also started dabbling in loose leaf tea that I would buy. Sadly this shop was made of fail and there were no instructions on how to properly brew tea or use loose leaf tea, I messed up a lot of tea, I am surprised I didn't give up on it then and there. One thing saved me though, Iron Goddess of Mercy Formosa Oolong, I bought it because that named sounded totally metal, I loved it and it is still a favorite tea.
playing Scrabble wrong...with a cup of tea
I became more and more obsessed with Asian culture, and by extension tea, and ended up bringing home random exciting teas from various Asian markets and botched a lot of greens. Yes, I still did not know how to brew a correct cup of tea other than black, it was sad. Because of course all the directions were in a language I did not read so I just winged it using my fancy tetsubin. A few years later, when I was 21, I lost my gallbladder (have you seen it? I am still looking for it, I went to the doctor and when I woke up it was missing) and my ability to drink soda, most alcohols, coffee, and most fruit juices.
Bed and Breakfast, I took the tea and passed on the OJ
All I had left was tea and I decided it was time to start doing it right. By doing it right I meant buying a ton of different teabags from all sorts of companies and flavors and reading the box. Lots of teas later...and lots of tea swaps thanks to swap-bot...I had decided on a few favorites. And then I discovered my local favorite grocery story was selling really awesome loose leaf tea, that was about four years ago. I slowly realized that the selection of tea, taste, and price was so much better with loose leaf tea, so about two years ago I made the full switch to loose leaf tea.
Because of course it is in my crafts
The real question is when did my obsession start. Well, when I find something interesting enough I do not just dabble in it, I will consume every bit of knowledge I can find on it. (Really, I am a little obsessive, only a little I swear.) It happened about the same time I switched to drinking loose leaf tea over the bags, I started doing a little research on the history of tea and next thing I knew I was reading every book, website, and blog I could find on tea. It took me a little longer before I started dipping my toes into the social side of tea (steepster and the tea group I run on facebook) because I am fairly introverted, but the tea community is very welcoming.
These were inspired by the first time I had Milk Tea

So there it is, tea has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but it slowly bloomed into the obsession it is now. Next step? Become a Tea Sommelier, really though, I want business cards that say "it's ok, I am a Tea Sommelier" that I can randomly give people. Tea reviews commence tomorrow, for now though the knackered and feverish me is going to bed.
The Enderman is thankfully not taking my teapot

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading this. You have been in love with tea for a long time.