When I say, “tea,” I mean TEA

Tea Cupboard
Indulging my love of tea with some prints flanking a cupboard that holds a favorite pot and cups.

One of my favorite daily pleasures is indulging in really good tea. I have a cup when I first arrive at the office. I enjoy a mid-afternoon tea break. And I typically sip a bedtime cup. Sometimes I make a proper pot and use one of the many lovely teacups I own, but mostly I drink from a giant blue mug I stole from my husband.

Now, oftentimes when people hear someone really enjoys tea, they start buying it for them. Which is very nice. Except that there are too many people who don’t understand what I mean by TEA. What I’m talking about is Camellia Sinensis–a shrub native to Asia that’s kin to the lovely flowering Camellias we had in the yard in SC. When you dry the leaves of this shrub–preferrably the two leaves on the tip of the branch, you get that fragrant amber liquid I enjoy so much.

There are tasty drinks out there billed as tea, but they’re actually tisanes or herbal infusions. They’re made from flowers, herbs, and roots NOT Camellia Sinensis. I do keep peppermint on hand because it’s nice for an upset tummy or after a rich meal, but it’s not tea.

And while flavored teas can be tasty once in a while, I really prefer the plain, black stuff. Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon. I get mine from Harney & Sons–an Irish family in New York that really gets all the nuances of tea. And, fortunately, carries really good tea in a decaffeinated version. I gave up caffeine about ten years ago and am grateful to Mr. Harney for accomodating me.

Writer’s have a reputation for consuming beverages while working. Pumpkin spice coffee, pots of Earl Grey, diet sodas galore. My writing fuel is decaf black tea. Just in case you were thinking about sending me some. ; )

14 thoughts on “When I say, “tea,” I mean TEA

  1. I have never understood why, when I ask for hot tea in a restaurant, they bring me a box full of tea bags and the closest thing to TEA is Earl Grey. No, no, no. Now I bring my own tea bags and just ask for hot water. 🙂 (And if you’ve never seen “Cup of Brown Joy,” you’re in for a treat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eELH0ivexKA …) Hope your spam collector lets this pass. 🙂

  2. Yet another reason to adore you, you speak the TRUTH!!!
    Yes, I love Earl Grey. And I love that you spelled it properly. I can and have existed without it. I swear.
    But I cannot live without high quality TEA. None of this chamomille/ginger/blueberry/dish water foolishness. NO.
    As you said, that is NOT tea.

    TEA is what Jane Austen served to her characters. Not Sleeptyme Dishwater Dreck.

  3. I almost wonder if I’ll be daggered for being a coffee lover. 😉 I like tea too, the real kind and the herbal. I love how you described what real TEA is. For the record, I have a few tea pots and antique tea cups I’ve purchased over the years. And a couple of tea cups from other countries.

    Tea is definitely a drink to enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere. 🙂

    PS—I hope you’ll still be my friend. 😉

  4. Green tea for me. And Ginseng!

    During winter I drink it by the gallon. Up until about 4 pm…for obvious reasons, there IS a cutoff time.

    I used to be a coffee fiend, up to 18 cups a day. I was like a Chihuahua on speed, and one day my body said, “NO.” Still miss genuine Jamaican Blue Mountain, though…

  5. wendylawton

    I have to disagree, Sarah. With me it is green or white flavored teas. I’ve never gotten used to the fermented black tea. My favorites: Tea Forte’s Green Mango Peach, Rishi’s White Peach Blossom and Mighty Leaf’s Green Tea Tropical. Mmmm. And yes, I have teapots (including the classic brown betty) I use and a wonderful Teavana Infuser to make one cup of loose leaf tea. I use teabags for travel. After taking a class in the Japanese Tea Ceremony (at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco) I’ve also come to love the ceremony of wisking a frothy bowl-like cup of Matcha tea.

    1. Oh, but you’re still enjoying TEA and that’s the main thing. My beef is with calling chamomile and rooibus and such “tea.” They can be delicious, but they’re something else altogether. Do you have different pots for different flavors? That’s a trick to keep your brews pure since some pots will absorb flavor. We’ll have to sit down and have a proper pot together sometime!

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