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Drinking Tea in a Coffee World
We’re a coffee-addicted society here in the U.S. Just think: how many coffee vs. tea stores are there? Even in places that sell tea drinks, employees often aren’t taught how to make them correctly because the focus is on coffee (I’m looking at you, Starbucks and Joffrey’s). This country just doesn’t get tea!
But let’s get one thing straight before we jump into it: this post is not a coffee bash. I like coffee (as long as it’s slightly sweet espresso or cold brew that’s not too sweet – it’s complicated). Since I only like it sweet, it’s a sort of dessert/reward drink for me. Finish my work for the day? Time to make a salted caramel latte! But I can’t drink it all the time, and one cup per day is my limit. Otherwise, I get all jittery and anxious, with an upset stomach to boot. So what happens when I still want a nice warm drink without the negative side effects of coffee!
Tea, of course!
I can drink it at any time of the day and it doesn’t take any fuss. No syrups, no espresso, though I do often put a bit of milk and honey in my black teas. I’m the token “tea-lover” amongst my family and friends, which is especially wonderful because everyone always buys me tea as a gift. It’s very sweet, and it means I’m almost always stocked with tea around the holidays and my birthday.
I didn’t grow up a tea drinker, though. Actually, nobody else in my family ever drank tea much. But when I was in high school, diving into everything British that I could find during the golden age of Sherlock, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, etc., I wanted to be as British as possible.
And so, I forced myself to drink tea.
I hated it at first. I realise now that I had no idea how to brew tea correctly, and there was no one to show me the right way. I didn’t know about different types of tea and how many flavours there were. I can’t remember what I was drinking back then, but it was probably black tea that I steeped for far too long in unfiltered water. I drank it so much, though, that it got to the point where I tolerated and even liked it (though now I know how it’s done, I can’t stand overly bitter tea!).
And then came the tea craze. I started buying my own teas, discovering flavours and testing out new blends. I discovered that tea is a journey, and that’s the crux of the problem.
The Most Misunderstood Drink
Almost everyone who doesn’t like tea has something in common: they tried one or two kinds and gave up. Most base their assessment on gross, cheaply-made tea as well – the kind they have at diners or hotels.
I can’t blame them, really. As I said before, the United States just doesn’t understand tea. There’s such a huge mystery and many misconceptions about the poor drink. Even if people realise that they don’t know enough about tea to make an accurate decision of whether or not they like it, they then think that tea is just too complicated to figure out, so they stick to coffee.
Maybe you’re sitting here and realising that you think the same way, and that’s okay! That’s why I’m here.
But why is this relevant?
Tea Improves Writing
Okay, maybe not directly. But it’s a proven fact that tea improves your life in many ways – health, focus, energy, not to mention superb flavours! And these things directly correlate to how much, how often, and how well you write.
Plus, most people have a limit to how much coffee they can drink per day, just as I do. So what do you do when you’re writing and feel the need for another warm drink at your side? Maybe you’ll never replace coffee with tea, but you can at least use it as an alternative for when you’ve had too much coffee or just want to taste something lighter.
A Magical Brew
No matter what your experience with tea has been in the past, this is the sign to give it another chance. If you’re not convinced already, here are even more reasons why you should:
1. The amazing health benefits. Tea is, quite literally, the miracle drink. It’s been linked to weight loss, longer lifespan, reduced risk of cancer and other diseases, and more. Why? That’s the funny thing – nobody really knows! Tea is just magical, okay?
2. Caffeine from tea is better. Our bodies react differently to tea and coffee caffeine. While the caffeine from coffee involves that notorious crash, it isn’t present in tea caffeine – and the energy lasts for longer, too. When I used to work shifts at Disney World until midnight, I’d bring my thermos of yaupon holly tea and drink it all throughout my shift. It kept me awake and alert, but when I got home I was still able to go right to bed.
3. It boosts creativity. This is real! Scientific studies have been done on tea and creativity, and they show that people who have drunk tea perform their tasks more creatively than if they had only drunk water. Now that’s cool – and as writers, we can all use that little creative boost, right?
4. Variety. The world of tea is full of endless possibilities. Tea can be made from practically any edible herb, root, leaf, spice, plant, or fruit. And these flavours can be mixed together. That’s basically an infinite amount of blends that could be made. Wanting something strong and dark? Try a black tea. Looking for something light and floral? Go for herbal or white. There’s a tea to fit every mood, and new blends are being created all the time!
5. It’s easy! Boil some water, plop a bag or infuser in. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Try Something New
So yes, even to all of you coffee lovers out there: take another chance on tea. Next time you’re at the store, grab a box of Twinings, Numi, Republic of Tea, or any brand or flavour that sounds good to you. Even better, get a variety box! I really think you’ll be surprised. Just pay attention to the steeping time on the bag!
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