Posts Tagged ‘Harney’

I drink a lot of tea. A LOT. I have about 13 blends of tea on a red tray in my cabinet, down from (I think) 16 a couple of weeks ago. In the current economic spirit of making do, I am trying to live with less and not order from Harney or The Republic of Tea as often as I’d like.

You can tell several things about me from my tea cabinet:

1. I like choices. I always have an assortment of blacks, several herbals, and at least one green tea on hand. (The distribution of blends also gives a key to my favorite: I love black tea best, but I can’t drink it after about 7 p.m. any more, unless I know for some reason I’m going to stay up late.)

2. My favorite teas are black with some sort of spice flavoring: witness the boxes of Spiced Chai, Holiday Tea (with cinnamon, cloves and vanilla), Hot Cinnamon Spice (with THREE kinds of cinnamon and cloves), and Spice Imperial (a Whittard favorite, sent to me from England via South Texas from my good friend Moose).

3. I love fruity teas – I’ve got raspberry, plum and apple herbals, plus a pomegranate-raspberry green tea blend.

4. I love teas in red bags – all of the teas mentioned in #3, plus the spiced chai, are in red pouches.

5. I’ve spent some time in England, as witnessed by the Earl Grey and Spice Imperial from Whittard, and the huge green box of stout Yorkshire bags. (I don’t drink those much on the go, though – they’re best with milk and sugar, in a thick purple ceramic mug, preferably in the dungeon kitchen of House 9 with five barefoot boys and morning light.)

6. I like a little sweetness sometimes – and I’m going to be very, very sad when the jar of wildflower honey from Roussillon that I bought in Paris runs out.

7. I keep empty tea tins if they’re pretty, and I stash single bags of tea in my round red Ben’s Cookies tin.

8. I prefer teabags to looseleaf, partly because I drop a teabag into my travel mug nearly EVERY morning, and take extra bags to the office and on the road. I’ve got a couple of looseleaf blends, but they’re harder to travel with unless you take the whole tin.

9. I’m a bit of a hoarder – good thing tea keeps forever. I’ve been trying lately not to be afraid to use tea up. There’s always more, and I have other choices (see #1).

What you can’t tell from my tea cabinet is that I fell in love with tea while working at the Ground Floor Coffee House, a truly magical little place in downtown Midland, with a blue door and green-speckled countertops and a fat yellow couch and chair by the front window. Even I grew weary of drinking hot chocolate every single day, and I’m not a coffee girl (love the smell; hate the taste). My managers, Barb and Cynthia, introduced me to teas from our selection of 50+, such as Blackberry Sage and Pink Grapefruit and Wild Berry Plum, and I was hooked. Four months later I went to Oxford for the first time and discovered the all-healing powers of Yorkshire, English Breakfast and Earl Grey.

Jacque and I prescribe a cup of tea as the remedy for nearly any ailment, and I miss those times in her sitting-room, sipping tea with milk and putting the world to rights. I also drank copious mugs of tea with my housemates last year; Jo would pop her head in my room sometimes and say, “Do you want a drink, or anything?” Or Gracie would make a cuppa for us all, serving them in tall lavender mugs with milk, or Lizzie and I would sip a steaming brew, sitting on her bed at night and talking the world away.

Bethany and I had a whole tea drawer at our little house in college, and I’ve carried on that tradition at each of the three places I’ve lived since. My sweet husband doesn’t mind my indulgence too much; he’s a fan, in his turn, of Earl Grey, Hot Cinnamon Spice and Organic Apple Red (though his true love is hot spiced apple cider).

I love that I can pull out the red tray whenever girlfriends come over (it was a wedding gift from my mom), and boil up some water in my red teakettle (a birthday gift from J a few years ago). To me, tea is about comfort and warmth and connection and taking the time to truly be in the moment. So next time you’re in the area, come on over and I’ll pull out the tray. I’ve got an assortment of eclectic mugs to match the tea, and we’ll sip and talk and laugh and breathe deeply, and relish being right here, right now.

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