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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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tea. yes, tea.
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
I always get faintly panicky when faced with unfamiliar tea. Back in the day--and by the day, I mean, college--my grandmother and aunt somehow managed to independently buy me these huge tea collections. I was already a junkie at that point, but the sheer variety was overwhelming. Darjeeling, breakfast, mint breakfast, whipped. Okay, not whipped, but seriously, I had sixteen kinds of tea at one point in my life.

Today, I realized, as I tried to add Scottish Breakfast Tea to my collection of Twinnings English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast, Tazo Awake, Twinnings Black Currant, Tazo Earl Grey, some Celestial Seasons of various disturbing types, and plain old Lipton, that I need stop. I didn't, of course.

Not since the dark days of experimentation with white pear tea (God help me, I will never forget that first sip) and hearing in horror about red tea--seriously, what? Red tea?--I thought to myself, don't be afraid. Face your fears and these strange labels. Also, avoid any kind of tea that states it was hand picked by trained monkeys.

Hand picked by trained monkeys. Is there a union for that?

Anyway.

One Taylors of Harrogate Darjeeling (if I am spelling that wrong, honestly, I can't even pronouce it), Barnes and Watson apricot, and Numi Golden Chai Organic ~ Spiced Assume (I don't even know what that means) later, and I realize, I'm a impulse tea buyer. This is why I avoid this section of Central Market, where the handpicked monkey tea lingers and tea can run two hundred a pound. The sheer mindboggling of the moment I calculated that out (yes, sometimes, I do sit around and convert dollar per ounce), and thought, huh, I wonder if monkey-picked tea tastes better, I knew I had a problem.

(for the record, I am planning to buy monkey-picked tea so I can report on whether the tea is, in fact, more awesome due to being, well, picked by monkeys. At fifteen dollars an ounce, I'm just saying, it sure as hell had better be.)

I miss Bencheley, though.

So. Tea.

I sometimes mull the fact that the highlights of my life include tea shopping. It's almost sad.


That is because tea rules.

Also, I believe red tea is actually rooibos, a South African shrub that isn't caffeinated. I've got rooibos chai and like it. Also caramel rooibos.

Dratted Teavana isn't carrying vanilla tea anymore, though. I am bereft.

Huh. I need to look it up. I literallhy whipped around at the tv when they mentioned red tea, but I didn't get the full story.

What is chai?

*off to have tea*

*so easily influenced*

I just look at it and suddenly it's in my grocery cart and I have no clear idea how it happened.

*snerk* Sixteen, pshaw. Last I counted, I had forty-someodd. It's a thing.

Red tea is quite good, though. Totally different than either black or green tea. Like, completely different. Very earthy. Lighter than black tea, sort of rounder than green tea. Doesn't get bitter like black and greens do.

Chai is tea with added spices. Usually done with black tea, but red is good, too. Usually you brew it, then sweeten heavily and add milk. Pretty yummy.

Wow.

Okay, now I'm curious about red. Green is okay but I never really got into it, and white is just--I have no idea, but eww. Hmm. Red sounds good.

If it makes you feel any better, I have the same reaction to lotions. Bath and Body Works lotions, no less. I have to be reminded that I already have 15 different scents and types of lotions in my bathroom and don't need anymore. However, I don't think I can compete with tea picked by monkeys. That's just... well, I'm sure there's a word for it somewhere.

IT has to be the force of collection or something. Like, must have *all* of them.

At least you smell very, very good.

I'm looking forward to learning your opinion on the monkey-picked tea.

Although I'm no connoisseur, I love tea. It's one of my comfort foods. When I'm feeling a bit down, I'll make myself a cup English Breakfast tea with milk and sweetener. Whenever I have a sore throat or cough, I make Earl Grey with honey. A few years ago, my husband bought me a tea chest, which I love.

It's not a problem if we don't admit to it.

Btw, if you'd like the benefits of green tea with the exquisite taste of black, try Pu-ehr Tuo Cha. I got the square brick for my roommate, but I prefer the compressed minis.

There is no downside to tea love. Old and new(!) varieties, with weird and enticing names, grown in exotic locales, to be served in whatever teacup/mug/shotglass suits your mood of the moment; plus no calories, good for you, and far, far less expensive than heading out to Starbucks--absolutely no sadness in any aspect of tea culture, so shop without shame.

Delurking to say:

Thank god someone else has an impulse tea-buying issue - and Central Market is the -worst- of enablers. The worst of it is that my current favorite is an oolong from Ministry of Tea, which means it costs ridiculous amounts. My college roommate and I had a stash of legendary proportions, which made us very, very popular around finals time. :)

There are ten billion varieties of chai out there -- it's all in the collection of spices that they decided to throw in with the black tea.

My favorite so far? Republic of Tea 500-Mile Chai. Reputedly because Indian truck drivers chug the stuff to stay awake for 500 miles. ;) Either way, it's really good, but I make it strong enough to melt the spoon. :D

Could the Numi be spiced Assam? Assam is black tea grown in the region of the same name in India, and since chai is spiced black tea, that would make sense.

My favorite way to cut down my tea stock when things are getting out of hand is to make pitchers of iced tea. I use six bags per pitcher, steep them in boiling water for fifteen minutes with a pinch of baking soda, cut the concentrate with four cups of water, and then pour in a box or two of raw sugar, since I'm a southerner. Playing with different combinations of tea bags is great fun, and you can make up your own house blend.

Would it make you feel better if you knew that at one point in my tea-drinking life, I had 40 different kinds of black tea? Not green, not herbal, no. All black.
I think I whiddled it down to 20 now, but I'm not sure.
So, hey. Tea!

*hides her cabinet and drawer full of tea*

16 varieties of tea seems very small to me. It means you're a tea drinker certainly (unlike those people who have a box of Lipton for company), but nowhere near obsessed.

Red tea/rooibos, as others have mentioned, is quite tasty. I drank it regularly for a while when I needed supplemental vitamin C - way nicer than taking a pill. :)

My tea habit isn't nearly what it used to be, but we still do have a very large drawerful. The next step for me was getting into herbs, and that's when it can really get scary. From Western herbs, I've moved to Chinese herbs, and I cannot find enough space to keep them all....

One of my favorite monkey picked tead is this which I get from this little British tea place the next town over. I go in and they measure out some tea in a teeny tiny little paper bag and I feel like a druggie getting a fix.

White tea is not so bad, but I run from all varieties of containing ginger even though I LOVE ginger in other foods. I like Chai tea but the name pisses me off because Chai is the Russian word for tea so I get annoyed drinking Tea tea. I know, it makes no sense.

Twinnings Black Current is among my favorites. My new thing now is mixing lime juice instead of lemon juice in my black tea. It's very tasty if you like lime.

I used to work in a small coffee roasting company that also sold about 40 varieties of loose-leaf tea. It was so divine to just wander over and try something new (or combinations of teas) on my breaks. Though it did make me into a bit of a tea snob now.

Mmm, tea.

How many cups of tea can you get out of an ounce? I desire to know the cost per teacup of trained monkey picked tea.