Ahhh.. the great tea leaf. Here is my homage to this great beverage.
On our about us page, I shared a little on my personal coffee love origin story and hinted of revealing my tea side in a future post.
Well here we are.
Tea loving origins
Growing up in a Dominican household, tea has always been sort of a mystical thing.
Whenever the cold weather, a sniffle, a stomach ache, a tantrum or a full blown young kid panic attack appeared, out came the dedicated tea concoction pot ( a big cup metal pot that looked more like a cauldron after decades use over open flames).
The list of ingredients that was tossed in the roaring boiling water was precisely orchestrated to fit the ailment. The usual suspects (ingredients) included: fresh ginger, cinnamon bark, anise, may be a clove,or two, a piece of lime/lemon rind and loose chamomile or linden flower.
The sequence of the ingredients and timing of the boil was religiously followed but never written down.
After the tea was left of the boiled to settle down, a touch of sweetness was added in the form of cane sugar or honey, and touch of acidity in the form of a squeeze of lime. Looking back, it sounds more like a punch than a tea, but the result was just fabulous for a kid coming in from playing in the snow.
That is what tea was for me, to balance the sniffles, the cold or pain with pure sweet comfort.
Tea taste preferences evolve
Interestingly, as I grew older, my tea taste of my upbringing stayed unchanged until my late thirties, during the time my coffee obsession began.
Almost hand in hand, as my coffee tastes evolved, my tea taste went along for the ride as if I craved the yin of tea to balance the yang of my coffee journeys.
Yin(tea) is the calming side and yang(coffee) is the energetic side of the balance. So I love both not only for the balance they bring but for the fun stuff as well, the sights, smells and tastes of each.
Around the same time I was beginning my new midlife journey in to coffee, I would find myself shops tasting samples of specialty teas from around the world. The white, green and black teas intrigued my senses as their complex notes were a departure from my early sweet tea years. I started to find the flavor tones of what I loved in coffee in tea but from a whole different angle.
A new world had opened up to me with tea.
My tea obsession
So as my coffee obsession grew so did my tea exploits. The number of tea varieties and tea brewing contraptions crowding my kitchen storage areas are only outpaced by my coffee ones.
Seeking the best tea for the right occasion/mood brewed with the right equipment with the correct methods is just plain fun for me. It’s like a beverage laboratory with a mad tea/coffee scientist at the helm. At the end of the it all, you get to taste wonder.
Tea and mindfulness
Tea is such a personal experience. It is more than just dunking some random old tea bag in some questionable quality hot water and dropping in a truckload a sugar beverage. Like coffee, the adventure begins when you finally slow down and take a minute to smell, taste and ponder what you are experiencing.
A mindful practice of tea drinking can change a life.
So make your next tea experience a tad more special than your last. Pick a different tea. Use filtered water. Try it unsweetened. Most importantly, take a minute or 10 and just be present with your tea. See where it takes you. It may surprise you.
Robin Sanchez is a father, husband and is obsessed with coffee. (and tea to a smaller extent). He is almost a coffee snob (almost?) and spends way to much time in his journey to find the perfect cup.