On my desk are two separate tea mugs and a teapot, all full, and containing two different teas. A flavoured black tea with milk. An accidental blend of two oolongs. A full teapot.
Is this normal?
If I'm feeling slow and groggy when I wake, I reach for an oolong first thing; soothing, light tasting, miracle working oolong. It has been thoroughly studied for its health benefits, immune boosting powers, and allergy suppressing abilities. I know I feel good when I drink it. Cleansed. Bright and shiny. Prepared, and ready to face the day, but not jittery or twitchy with caffeine.
If I'm in a particularly bright mood, I start off with a white tea (can't wait to try the luscious sounding Madagascar Coconut). White teas are so delicate, though. I feel I must appreciate them in all their complexity and aroma, and it becomes an event to have a cup of white tea.
More frequently, the oolong will be followed by a spectacular black tea. Something fruity and unusual, or a flavourful chai for this new autumn weather. A robust, assertive, seize the day kind of tea, to help me weather the mid-morning.
Depending on circumstance, I may switch to a caffeine-free tea at noon, or I may rev things up with a glorious Matcha combination. I use Matcha as a last resort- the best energizing and cleansing tea, but one that is guaranteed to give me strange dreams and a restless sleep. I am sensitive to caffeine!
If I make the herbal switch, to something as roundly flavourful as Vanilla Spice, for example, I may find I need one more boost to make it through the afternoon hours and land safely at home. Roasted Mate is my savior in those times. I feel rested, I'll sleep well, and I get to indulge in a tea that is light and drinkable and makes me feel fantastic.
Returning back home, it's all herbal, all the way. Rooibos is my constant, non-demanding love, in all flavours and formats. So healthy, so many nutrients. I feel like I'm drinking vitamins when this is my "before bed" tea, but it's just as likely I'll reach for a seasonal herbal tea in the evening. Usually these herbal blends contain two to nine ingredients!
So, normal or not, a typical day starts out with two teas, proceeds through six variations and three different plants, and ends happily with the promise that I can do it all again tomorrow.
Maybe it's me who's along for the ride!
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The first time I tried chai was in the kitchen of my parent’s house, and served by my younger sister. “You have to taste this—” she insisted, pushing a mug across the countertop to me. She refused to elaborate on its contents. The flavors, she said, would speak for themselves.
The quality of water affects the taste of your tea; this is beyond dispute. The relative quantities of mineral salts, oxygen and trace elements determine the relative "liveliness" or "flatness" of a particular cup. To that simple substance we add the basic flavor of the leaf itself or an herbal substitute.