Random obsession of the moment: tea

I am possibly a little bit obsessive.  Ok… possibly more than a little!  Maybe you’ve noticed, if you’ve been reading for awhile.  I can’t just try to learn something, I have to set out to know everything possible (see: knitting, sewing, cooking, fitness etc).  I don’t suppose it’s a problem, as I do function quite well in everyday life.  I basically have two types of friends: geeks (mostly of the computer type) and classical musicians.  I myself am a musician married to a computer guy.  I think those two groups have more in common than you would think – namely, high intelligence combined with a level of obsessive focus that is not always socially acceptable, but which leads to being really good at something.

Not all of my interests are all life changing the way sewing was for me, but every few months I do develop an interest in something new.  This month?  Tea.  Real tea, the kind that doesn’t come in a bag.  When I was growing up we always had a few boxes of Celestial Seasonings tea in the house.  Sleepytime tea has a lot of fond memories and good associations for me, and I still drink it.  I don’t recall ever having black tea.  When I went away to college I developed quite a coffee habit (still with me, sadly) and was looking for a way to replace some of that with another hot beverage.  I happened to be rewatching Star Trek: the Next Generation at that time, and Jean-Luc Picard’s constant order of “Earl Grey, hot!” led me to buy a box of Twinings at the supermarket.  Earl Grey tastes rather like perfume, but as it turns out I love bitter or perfumey tastes!  I’ve been drinking the Earl (as I like to call it) ever since (and it’s possible that I may own a set of glass mugs like the ones on the Enterprise… not saying).  I really like Earl Greyer from The Republic of Teas.  It has rather a lot of bergmot, and thus I like it.  In time I branched out to chai (mostly Tazo, because I like the peppery burn) and English Breakfast teas.  I was still using bags, as early experiences with a tea ball had not been good to me.

For the past few years I’ve been attempting to eat very clean – I eat very little meat, lots of fruits, vegetables and grains, and very little processed food.  At this point, I pretty much prefer to eat this way.  Processed food doesn’t taste right to me, although I am never giving up coffee, chocolate, or wine.  I’ve been trying to cut back my coffee a little though – I don’t think too much makes me feel great.  So I turned back to my old friend the Earl of Grey.  I got online and started reading about teas, and found a whole community of people who are really into tea.  I decided I was interested in trying out loose teas, and even some types of tea (like green tea) that I did not care for in the past.  I placed an order for samples and an infuser from Upton Tea, and it arrived today!

The teas come packaged in individual containers with labels and steeping instructions for each tea.  I wish they could be closed – the samples are large enough for quite a few servings!  I also got their current catalog, which is old fashioned and full of awesomeness.  I’m pretty impressed with the way it manages to make drinking tea into a lifestyle!

I also got a permanent filter basket.  I love this thing – it holds all the leaves in, and it’s easy to clean.  Best of all, it fits in my Star Trek mugs!  I’ve already made myself a cup of their Bond Street English Breakfast and it was lovely.

If anyone has any suggestions for teas I’m all ears – I especially love spicy or perfumey blends (I ordered a chai that has pieces of chili peppers in it… I am looking forward to that!)  I want to like green teas, but they always taste like grass to me (I do like green jasmine, again with the perfume.)

So there you go… my obsession of the month.  My husband says that life with me is never boring!