Tea Time


Yesterday, my friend and neighbor, Jackie, knocked on my door to drop off a little bag of Souchong tea.  The day before she sat at my kitchen counter drinking ginger green tea while we shared very wifey topics like roasted chicken recipes and kitchen remodeling ideas; she also listened to me make a vow to use up and/or throw away all the packaged tea in my cabinet before committing to a very few selections of loose herbal and black tea.  In turn, she made some black tea recommendations, and generously followed up by giving me this sample to try.

Our conversation about tea went something like this:

Me:  “I’m sick of looking at tea bags at the bottom of cups – they’re so ugly – like afterbirth.”

Jackie: “Yeah, they kind of look like an herbal tampon.”

Aesthetics is part of the reason I want to make this change. Saving space is another. Probably the most important reason is because my cabinet of teas has become one of those messy bulging avoidant areas, usually found behind doors or in drawers, which has become dreadfully stagnant. I’m not sure why I’ve had such a block to throwing out those 3” by 5” boxes, which neither I, nor my guests, ever choose.  Maybe it’s because all those colorful boxes give the illusion of having choices, and I’ve been choosing illusion over reality.


As I write this post, I am sipping on the Souchong tea and it’s good, I guess. I have to admit: I’m not very discerning when it comes to tea. If a tea has a medicinal benefit then I usually can convince myself to like it but I’ve never had strong preferences based on taste alone.  I know I don’t like fruity teas but beyond that I couldn’t even pretend to have an opinion on a tea’s qualities, never mind its aroma.  Which is probably why I have been buying packaged tea.  And I must admit the teas I buy are usually geared towards what’s on sale versus its ingredients.

As I begin the gradual emptying of my tea cabinet, I’ll also have to ready myself for filling the void. Probably the only way for me to feel more connected to my teas is if I actually grow, harvest and store the leaves and flowers in glass canisters of my choosing.  That’s a lot of work.  And so is cleaning out a teapot every day. But that’s how I roll. I suspect my lack of involvement in my tea collection has kept me indifferent and distant all along.

A few years ago, my friend Lizzie actually gave me the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis, which grows well in the Pacific Northwest, but I wasn’t ready for it then and sadly, it didn’t survive.  I’ll have to try growing it again, and perhaps start foraging for other tea ingredients, but in the meantime, come on over for tea.  Right now, I have quite a selection!