Three mugs of tea into the day and enlightenment finally sets in. I’ve been wondering what to write about and my thoughts turned to my relationship with tea. Yes, we all know I love it. Of course I do, or I wouldn’t be devoting all this time to writing about it, and building a whole web site dedicated to it. So, yep my loyalties to the fine leaves have been tried and tested.
Tea and I have a very special thing going and I know that. In fact, we’ve clearly hit the stage many long-term relationships are said to reach. I am 100% dedicated to this drink. I am absolutely loyal to this drink. However, I am not infatuated. I love tea, but I don’t think about it every minute of the waking day. I don’t revere it, and I don’t put it on a pedestal. I don’t spend hours gazing at it in a glass pot. I make it, I drink it and I truly enjoy it. Simple.
I know what I have with my tea. There aren’t many mysteries between us. I know what I get when I sip. I know how to make it beautifully. I know how to bring out the best of the leaves. But I’m not obsessed. Passionate, certainly – because for me there is no other.
We have a happy relationship built on years of mutual trust. My tea knows I never fail to make a cup. I always keep it close. I know the taste will never let me down. I’m not talking about the little errors of our ways. Yes, sometimes I make mistakes when I brew it. Sometimes I oversteep, or use too much. But it isn’t the tea’s fault, it’s mine. I will always return and do a better job the next time.
Now there are quite a few tea drinkers out there who talk about their obsession with tea. They write pages and pages about tea on their blogs. They make videos tasting the most obscure teas. And then one day they’re suddenly gone. Not even a year into their fledgling efforts. While I applaud admiration for the leaves, obsessions make me uneasy. Let’s face it, how long can an obsession last? How long will yours? It won’t. You’ll be passionate to the point of exhaustion over your tea, and then one day you’ll just burn out. You’ll no longer want it. You’ll move on to the next “hot” thing. I’ll find you blogging about the Mocha Lattes at Star B.
See, that’s not going to happen to my leaves. I’m not going to switch, I’m not going to dabble in coffee, or cola and then go back to tea. It’s tea for me. Only tea and always tea. For ever.
Throwing down your glove in protest, eh?
I whole-heartedly agree with the call for being more measured in our obsessions. Not everyone loses their mind in the search for the rarest, most obscure tea, but there is a bit of that burn-out that is inevitable for some.
What I like most, and I've heard it mentioned here at leafboxtea before, is that we shouldn't make tea other-worldly. It needn't be esoteric to be attractive.
The obsessiveness of some tea aficianados really makes it less appealing for the curious. Why not focus on tea's easy accessibility to draw more to the leaf side?
A lovely "Ode to Tea", if one can call it that. I wholeheartedly agree – tea shouldn't be a flighty passion, not even a flirty affair, like one has with champagne. Tea is more steady and dependable, whilst of course not at all boring! Lahikmajoe is right, obsessiveness and exaggerated ceremony (whilst lovely to watch, say in Japan) put a lot of people off tea, thinking it's fussy and somehow pretentious. But it isn't! It's a great drink, or "beverage" should one say, which can be anything you want it to be, mysterious and poetic, or functional and thirst-quenching, hearty or ephemeral. Tea is like love.