About 2 years ago, I began searching for an alternative to coffee in the morning.  I liked my morning coffee rituals, but I didn’t like the stained teeth, the cravings for smokes, or the jittery side effects of the pure adrenalin.

Long story short, I didn’t find a replacement.  I still love my coffee.  However, it made me venture into the world of teas.  The British have been drinking it for hundreds of years – it must be ok, right?

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Yes…indeed.  There’s a lot to learn about teas, and I was quick to jump in head first with all of the gear.

When I thought of tea growing up, I got images of this….

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This is how a lot of people like to enjoy their tea.  Little to no mess, add a little milk and sugar and you’re good to go.

But what I was TRYING to do was to essentially drink tea without anything added.  Yes, you can do it.  You can also drink coffee completely black with no cream or sugar too.  I guess I was hoping for these amazing flavors that stood on their own – so I started asking around to people at work, and as luck would have it…two tea drinkers right next to my cubicle.

They drink “loose leaf” tea.  What is that?  Well, you buy tea “loose leaf” silly – no bags.  The concept is this…

  1. Get your tea.  Could be white, black, red, green, whatever…lots of varieties.  Put it into a steeper.

     

  2. Heat water to a specific temperature for your tea.  I bought a Cuisinart that heats to a particular temperature – alerts you when it is ready, and keeps it at that temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour water into tea cup, place steeper in, steep tea for specific time, take steeper out.  The item pictured here required boiling water and steeped for 4-6 minutes.IMG_1473
  4. Usually, you can steep the tea in the steeper a second time for another cup.

So this is sort of complicated…right?

A little.  Kind of.  Not really.  Most of the packages I bought had right on it what temperature the water should be and how long to steep for.  Apparently if the temperature isn’t high enough, it doesn’t fully unlock the flavors.  However, if the temperature is too hot, you “burn” the tea leaves…so you try and find the optimal temperature.

What’s funny is I posted this to my facebook page once upon a time, at which, almost instantly, my manhood was called into question.  Suddenly, I was barraged with images like this on my friend feed…

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I didn’t know.  Somehow, drinking tea made me a dandy of some sorts…so James Bond drinks tea – fuck all of you.

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In the end….you can add milk….honey – or even rock sugar:

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Whoever you are…who gives a shit what people think.  If you’re American, and you like tea, it does NOT mean you are a dandy.  I mean, it can…but it doesn’t.

My favorite so far is Teavana Wild Orange Youthberry mix.  It’s a little on the acidic side, so I try not to drink it too late in the evening.  Anyway – I leave you with this calming image for the evening…

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