Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Of Tea Blends and Demographic Trends

This is what an unapologetic tea aficionado's cupboard looks like: a colorful variety of tea tins and other containers keeping precious tea leaves safe. Please notice that no one tea is vying for attention nor screaming to be noticed, steeped and consumed. Each tea will be enjoyed at a designated albeit unannounced moment. (For the observant and inquisitive reader, the clear pouch above is the 3 Essence of Beauty tisane by Fang Gourmet Tea. If you don't notice one or more of your favorite tea purveyors, they may be in another cupboard.)

Diverse Blends, Individual Taste

There is a tea for every moment and every palate. Tea is as marvelously diverse as the people who drink it. For example, some prefer their tea without a trace of additional flavors; others like tea blends featuring flowers, spices or fruits. Still others drink green tea and shun black. There are even some tea drinkers who really don't care what the tea tastes like as much as they care about seeing the word "organic" on a packaging label. In spite of these differences, this is the common denominator: we drink tea.

Tolerance and Teatime

Recently I visited some relatives and as we settled in for a good chat, we went to the kitchen to prepare tea. Did I mention that he prefers coffee? Well, as you can imagine, his cupboard view was not the same as mine. However, spending quality time with loved ones sometimes necessitates reaching across beverage boundaries. No, I consumed no coffee; we found some tea buried among the herbals. I steeped tea. He brewed coffee. We had a conversation. Mission accomplished.

What would happen if within our lives we focused on shared goals rather than our differences? After all, a spicy chai is prized because all the ingredients, e.g. ginger, clove, cardamom, black pepper, etc., work together towards increasing the drinker's body heat and energy level. No one asks a chai to taste like a Darjeeling. Indeed, asking either tea to taste like the other is ridiculous, even if they both originate in India. Each tea is appreciated for its own individual characteristics and appeal. What about people? This is an idea worth a contemplative sip or two.

Teas Worth a Sip
Teas to try include:
> Chandernagor, one of my favorite Mariage Frères blends, is a spicy Indian black tea that's heartwarming literally. Available at The Cultured Cup

> Gingers Oolong by Harney & Sons, a combination that's pleasantly memorable.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. I like this approach to taste and I think it is related to tolerance, understanding, and a positive attitude like you explain in this post!

    I think that the way the mind works, there's a certain generality to respecting differences of opinion. If you can do it with something seemingly inconsequential, like tea or coffee, it exercises your mind and soul and paves the road for taking a similar approach when you're later presented with a more controversial or emotionally-charged difference of opinion. Is it too far-fetched to make that connection?

  2. Sir, I couldn't have said better myself. However, the proof is not in the saying but the doing.

    As always, thanks for contributing to the discussion.