Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tea

While in Big Town for classes yesterday, I hunted, and searched, and looked, and searched, and hunted.... for a kettle.

Finally found one, and was very happy as mine is packed, if I remember correctly, in the third or fourth box on the bottom row of a stack of four, in the trailer.

I like tea, more and more all the time. I've always enjoyed a nice cup of hot tea on a winter's afternoon, and while I'm a huge proponent of coffee for morning wake-up, I'm coming to realize that while I'm quitting smoking, perhaps I need to break that habit as well. Mostly because it was always coffee and a cigarette, and it's been taking twice as much coffee to beat the morning growlys into submission. More, if I didn't get much sleep the night before.

I swear to whatever deity you care to name, if I ever get off of these damn patches (I'm on step three, now, because, well, I'm butch like that, and pushing it) I'm going to burn the boxes and dance around them. After shooting them. And stabbing them.

Seriously, I hate these things.

Anyway, tea. I like tea, and while it's possible to make tea by putting a cup of water in the microwave and heating it and then putting the tea bag in the cup, I can taste a difference between that method, and putting water in a kettle, heating it on the stove, and pouring the was-boiling-just-a-second-ago water over the bag.

I am nowhere near schooled enough in tea-fu to make tea with loose leaves, although the Safeway in Big Town offers tins of Twinnings loose tea leaves in a couple of varieties. Not to mention I don't have a proper tea pot, which seems to me to be a necessity if you're going to make tea the "proper" way.

Anyway, there's something about the sound of the water beginning to bubble in the kettle, as I putter around the kitchen, and the sound of the low groan from the whistle just before it actually whistles, that's soothing to me. And, soothing has been a rare and precious commodity around me for a couple of weeks now.

So, I found a kettle, and I bought some tea. Store brand Earl Gray because otherwise I'm going to drink all of Mamaw's fancy Earl Grayer tea, from The Republic Of Tea. That stuff is gooood. Also, a store brand orange spice tea, because it smelled good through the cellophane... which is the same reason I first tried Earl Gray. And, a Twinnings variety pack, with their Earl Gray, Lady Gray, English Breakfast, and Irish Breakfast teas.

The Twinnings Irish Breakfast blend is quite good, if you're wondering. I haven't tried the others, yet.

But, I have tea. The ritual of making the tea, and sitting staring at the wall thinking about things, cradling a cup of tea and idly swirling a spoon through it.... it's relaxing. Slouching down in a comfy chair with the cup cradled in my hands, the warmth begins to radiate up my arms... and as I sip the warmth starts radiating through my chest, relaxing muscles and cleansing stress.

It's a hot, luxurious bath, in a cup, in some ways. I'm still exploring the different varieties, and figuring out my favorites.

So, what are your favorite teas? And, is there really a difference between loose-leaf and bag brewing?

16 comments:

Jon said...

To me, teas are like scotch. There are tons of different types and opinions, but in the long run, the one you like is the one you'll drink.

I like Lipton in a bag. I've enjoyed it my entire life and found it's what I like best.

The Estrogen Commitee said...

Earl Grey and Jasmine do it for me!

Crucis said...

Don't forget, cup for cup, tea has more caffeine than coffee.

That said, I like a nice hot cuppa in the late afternoon or evening.

Anonymous said...

We go through a lot of plain black or orange pekoe at our house.
Also Lipton green tea with orange, passionfruit and jasmine.

Castr8r said...

You need to get a "Tea Ball". Oh, you didn't know tea had balls? You can buy them at some grocery stores, seriously. They are a small stainless steel container that you can put a dab o' tea in, then steep it however you wish with no mess- well, not much. When done to your satisfaction, you remove by the stainless steel chain that is so thoughtfully attached. I have had one for 30 years or so, I guess I need to find it and use it sometime...

Hang Tough on the coffin nails; I'm rootin' for you!

Old NFO said...

COFFEEEeeee.. That's my tea :-)

Christina LMT said...

I love Earl Grey as well. It's definitely my favorite, after trying many different types of tea over the years. I believe it's the bergamot that makes the difference.

Christina LMT said...

Oh, and Crucis...coffee has more caffeine than tea, unless you drink it like I do, diluted with hot water!

Krigsrotte said...

My favorites are cheap Yunnan and Earl Grey for the most part, and lapsang souchong or chun mee if I feel like something fancy.

Michael W. said...

As for myself, I am partial to Twining's English breakfast tea. A good rich semi-strong tea. Another good one is Red Rose.

Hang in there on the quit smoking effort, it will be worth it in the end. I quit a good while back and haven't regretted it.

As for the patches, Tie them to the back of the tractor and drag them around a bit. THAT will make you feel better. -grin-

dfreed said...

Try rose hips tea. Very soothing.

I can't get over that Lady Gray tea tastes like fruit loops. It's just a mental block I think.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

I live less than a mile from a spice & tea store. My resistance is weak - but I think I'm down to about fifteen types loose-leaf in the tea drawer.

My favorite for the morning is a local blend called Iditamint - It not only has good black tea in it, but roasted cocoa nibs, mate, mint, and a few other things thrown in that make it smell like heaven and give a kick like putting a match to ether.

Happily, the same store sells these awesome little boxes of paper tea bags that make it easy and no-muss to drop a spoonful of loose leaf in and contain the leaves in anything from a mug to a full pot. I never did get the hang of getting all the used tea out of tea balls, so these are blessings in my life.

Good luck and good wishes on kicking smoking - it's a hard road, but so worth the trip!

Andrey said...

http://www.specialteas.com

#510, #502, #507, #318, #331 and on very rare occasion - #618.

fastbike said...

Try Stash Assam Black. Available online only. Not as bitter as English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast, but strong and mellow.

I also have some new favorites from Lipton: Black Pearl, or Lipton White Tea w/ Mango and Peach (good for the afternoon with a sugar cookie).

CarrieT said...

I love love love Rooibos (Bush Tea). My uncle gave me some from South Africa a few years ago and I haven't looked back. Its delicious

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooibos

Simian said...

bit late on the draw here...(just now catching up after my move at the beginning of the year) but I'm partial to rooibos, oolong, and assam. Right now I have a really great smokey one called "Kobos Lapsang Sou Chong"...at least that's what my girlfriend wrote on the bag. (I'm a loose leaf guy, though I do have some bags for when I'm really in a hurry.)