Wednesday, January 21, 2009

tea

Tea, soymilk, teabag

I like it when full circles take that last second left or right jut and become spirals.

Occasional tea drinker to heavy coffee drinker to insomniac to regular tea drinker. Doing donuts in the parking lot with a travel mug in my hand.

So: Tea.

Were wars ever fought or started over coffee? You'd think they were, considering what happens to people if they don't get it. Perhaps they were on an incredibly small scale, and between management and accounting. I imagine they were no less violent though.

Anyway, this isn't about coffee. This is about it's milder sibling, tea, and our love affair. South Florida has never been a place that loans itself to hot beverages, and it wasn't until senior year of college when caffeine went from luxury to necessity that I began drinking it. It then went from necessity to curse during my first year of law school when I became a die hard insomniac due in part to my three cup a day habit.

I managed to ween myself off and switch to tea by brewing a weeks worth of decaf and having an iced cup of decaf every morning in conjunction with some relatively strong tea.* I haven't looked back but for during the more exhausting work weeks I've had. Coffee is better as a weapon of last resort against exhaustion, drank before a night out or during an especially tiring day at work. Also, there's relatively little finesse in coffee making. Sure you can argue about what esoteric device you put it in or the (shudder) terroir**, but little of that has anything to do with things you do in a kitchen and more to do with things you do in a lab.

I have a jar of dried orange peels, cardamom, and ginger that I can throw one of each or all three in with my loose tea. I can steep the tea in milk instead of water. I can choose from an endless number of varieties of tea or tisane. I can brew the stems of the plant instead of the leaves, or the buds, or I can have the leaves wholly dried, blanched, or barely dried. In order, I just described stick, white, black, oolong, and green teas.

All that AND I can sleep at night. Color me a happy camper.

* 1 cup of coffee equals between two and five cups of tea caffeine wise, but for whatever reason drinking 3 cups of tea ≠ the buzz from 1 cup of coffee. I'm awake, sure, but the hairs on the back of my neck aren't standing up.
** Terroir is silly. There, I said it.