What we run on

Everyone runs on something a bit different. I have friends who just about have coffee IVs plugged into their veins. And while I love a good cup of coffee (mmmm, Sumatra with real cream!) my day runs on tea. And yes, I can be picky, but there are times when good old Lipton’s is the brew of choice. However, after sharing my Creative Manifesto yesterday, I thought I’d take a lighter approach and share my Tea Manifesto today.

1) ALL tea is GOOD tea, except for Lapsang Souchong which tastes like gym socks mmsteeped in dirty bathwater.
2) Artificial flavorings are right out. It’s natural or nothing.
3) Loose is better than bags, but if bags is what you’ve got, then bags are fine.
4) You can make a fetish out of brewing your tea, or you can dunk a previously-used bag back in your half-filled mug, and top it off. It doesn’t really matter unless you think it matters, so just get on with it.

So you see, I’m pretty much a pragmatic tea drinker. I mostly drink it neat, sometimes with lemon and/or a bit of sweetener, depending on the tea (never in green or white) and about twice a year what I love is a great, big mug of hot, milky tea because the comfort level is through the roof.

I enjoy a lot of the Republic of Tea blends, and about once a year I buy up an armload of their tea, generally trying something new each time. The perennial favorite there is Blackberry Sage. However, much as I love Earl Grey in a general way, I rather dislike RoT’s Earl Greyer because it’s too over-the-top with the bergamot.

Bigelow makes one of my Most Favorite Evah teas, Constant Comment. It’s not just the sweet orange and spice that I love about it. More than that, it reminds me of when I was a child and my mother took me shopping at Marshall Field’s. We’d shop until about three, and then she’d take me to the Walnut Room for afternoon tea. I’d always order the Tea for One — finger sandwiches, petits fours and a bit of fruit — with Constant Comment tea. It will always remind me of her, my childhood, and being simply happy.

I enjoy herbals, and Celestial Seasonings has a fantastic line of both regular and herbal teas, and some amazing blends. I’m partial to their Zingers, and berry blends, all of which make fantastic iced tea.

I buy a lot online because it’s not always easy for me to get out to shop for tea, and if there was to be a Tea Emergency? Well it doesn’t bear thinking about what I’d do if I ran out, so it’s best just to lay in a regular stock. I can personally vouch for the online services of RoT and Celestial as well as:

Adagio — Their Mandarin Green makes me very happy, and they have wonderful teaware, samplers, gifts, a newsletter, and a community. They also offer a downloadable tea timer!

Upton Tea — Offers a wealth of information about tea, and one of the most comprehensive stocks of tea I’ve ever seen.

Cybercucina — I include this because they carry a large stock of my favorite brand of tea, Kousmichoff Their prices are decent, and the shipping is fast.

Along with the elusive Monk’s Tea, which I first got from the husband of my sister-friend, Sammie, Kusmi’s Prince Vladimir is easily my favorite tea on the planet. Not only is it delicious, but the tin is gorgeous! And so useful once you’ve emptied it. *nudge, nudge, all you altered artists* Other favorites from Kusmi include: Anastasia, Troika, Bouquet des Fleurs, Kashmir Tchai, & Petrushka. (For some reason the Kusmi site doesn’t list this one.)

Why didn’t I put in a link to Monk’s Tea? Because while I’ve found many teas online that call themselves that, I’ve never found one that tasted as good as the one Jack gave me many years ago. When I do, I’ll post a link. Not until.

Okay, your turn. What does your day run on?

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2 thoughts on “What we run on

  1. If you’re really into loose tea, may I recommend the Bonjour Smart Coffee Maker.Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be for coffee, but it’s the best thing for loose tea I’ve ever run across. I got one for free from someone where I used to work (the original owner never used it), tried it once and was in love. You put the loose tea in the body of the thing, pour in the hot water and it steeps right there. When it’s as strong as you like it, you set the thing on top of your cup and it automatically releases the liquid – no bits of tea get through at all. To clean it, just dump the leftovers down the sink or in the trash and clean the filter under the faucet. The whole thing can go into a dishwasher on the top rack, but it’s fine to clean it in the sink.Every store that sells loose tea should stock these things.

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  2. Oooh, yeah, Adagio has something similar to that. I forget what it’s called, but it works in much the same way you described it, and I agree, it’s just wonderful.

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