Monday, January 12, 2015

But First, Tea

It's a gloomy, damp Monday afternoon and I'm drinking a cup of hot tea and listening to a '90s Irish band.

Perfect, right? Maybe, but it also represents a seismic shift in the earth's force, at least according to those who know me best. You see, I never drank hot tea. And by never, I mean from birth until a few months ago, I couldn't stand the stuff.

Friends and family know my aversion to hot beverages, the occasional hot chocolate aside. While I've always enjoyed a glass of iced tea (no sugar, no lemon) during the summer, I could never get into a hot cuppa tea.

And then the planets realigned and boom, I enjoy a cup of tea almost every night when I get home, either while blogging or reading. Sometimes on a chilly day, in the afternoon, too. On vacation over the holiday, I even had it with breakfast some days.

I can't explain what happened to make me suddenly appreciate tea. But those closest to me registered shock and awe when they heard the news. In one case, I was rewarded for my shift in allegiance with a gift certificate to Carytown Teas, a place I hadn't even known existed until I unwrapped the envelope.

Even a novice tea drinker like me recognized today as a prime tea-drinking day, so I looked up the shop's location and set out to explore the world of tea. It was a tad overwhelming.

Canisters of loose tea sat on shelves with all the accouterments on tables nearby. Since I don't yet have the ability to brew loose tea, the first thing I picked up was a box of tea bags. That much I knew I needed.

Then I laid myself at the skilled feet of the proprietor, sharing that I was new to all this, aware only that so far I'd enjoyed mint and orange teas and had a leaning toward green tea for its antioxidant qualities.

Pro that she was, she immediately set about blending me a tea to suit my blossoming palate. With an eye toward my interest in green tea, she chose Gunpowder Osprey but used a higher percentage of beautifully-scented blood orange/grapefruit tea to keep the caffeine even lower.

Now as I sit here on my second cup, I marvel at how it took me so many decades to appreciate the pleasures of a cup of hot tea.

Just call me a late bloomer about yet another thing. I'm with Monty Python on this one: Make tea, not war. Will do...finally.

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