Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tea Trippin'

I am an American anomaly. I do not do coffee. In this land of latte-laced days and frappachino-fueled nights,I prefer the gentle ritual of tea. Not the Brisk or Lipton nonsense but aromatic, expertly blended leaves and spices in a decorative cup. The tea should be preferably accompanied by cinnamon scones with heaping dollops of Devonshire cream and melodic classic jazz but that's besides the point. I have a cabinet dedicated to my tea habit and it holds at least 50 varieties. I lean towards Indian teas and herbal tisanes that aren't technically tea at all. My favorite is Madagascar Vanilla Red tea. It's a deep burnished red color layered with vanilla and rooibos flavor. Rooibos is a South African plant that's also called red bush. It's noted for it's healing properties and antioxidants but I just love the rich flavor.

Red Chai Masala is another stand-out for me. It's chai without the caffeine, loaded with ginger,nutmeg, clove, chicory and black pepper for a spicy morning drink. It's also blended with my favorite rooibos leaves so it's a pretty ruby color.

India spice tea features a classic blend of cardamon and cinnamon and is probably my all-time favorite. You'd think that regularly sipping tea from several different continents would make me realize the cultural and travel aspects in my tea ritual but it never occurred to me. Then I had a conversation with my Facebook friend Eka. Eka is Indonesian and we're both in a Facebook group called "A Cup of Tea Solves Everything." We always shoot messages back and forth about the tea we're drinking at the moment. I never thought about the cultural aspects of tea outside the British, Chinese and Japanese traditions until Eka kindly schooled me.

The picture above shows traditional Indonesian tea or teh. According to Eka, Javanese people love sweet tea but the Sundanese people prefer hot tea with no sugar. Eka's fave is vanilla tea, which is the yellow box pictured on the right. The Minang people are known for their vanilla tea and serve it for free in their restaurants. Eka is Javanese so she loves to drink sweet tea in the morning and rose-flavored rosella tea for the rest of the day.


Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I guess that makes ma an anomoly too Fly girl.......I don't like not coffee. Uhhh......I don't like tea either which I realize is so very un-Southern of me, lol.
Now that tea you're talking about?? That's right up Prince's ally. He loves tea....but then again, he grew up drinking the stuff. He even calls dinner "tea". UGH, do we have a language barrier in this house!!
But, we muddle through and love each other madly :)
Take care darlin lady and......

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Does not liking either tea or coffee make me weird????????
Just askin.......

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Fly Girl said...

Lol! Yes, it makes you weird in a good way! I really think you need to try really good tea like what I've described here before you totally make up your mind. If you're drinking Prince's Earl Grey or Southern sweet tea, I can understand you not liking it. Pick up some rooibus or chai!

marina villatoro said...

hey, I haven't drunk coffee in almost 2 years and am a full on tea addict. I love it, it's the best part of my day.
I used to drink like 4 cups of coffee a day, ironically, I don't miss it for a minute!
and you're right there are soooooo many amazing teas, you can never get enough:)

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I've always loved coffee, but tea is more varied than people realise, as most stick to standard types.

Beauty Is Diverse said...

I really dislike coffee, tea has always been my fav. Right now im hooked on Harrods Fruit Infusion Tea that I bought when I was in London.

Lola said...

Also a tea drinker, but I usually fall into the habit of buying the boxes without touching them for weeks.

Fly Girl said...

Marina, I'm so glad you came over to the tea side!

Jean-Luc, there's enough tea varities to win over a coffee lover!

Ebony, Harrod's tea rules!

Lola, you're not a tea drinker if you don't open the boxes!

A Cuban In London said...

I loved this post. And what I enjoyed the most was the ritualistic aspect of it. The patience in preparing the brew. The care with which you choose which tea to have. All in place, one step at a time. Many thanks for this post although I am a coffee man. I do have tea, of the herbal variety. A mix of green, ginger, gingko, peppermint and chamomile is great before going to sleep at night.

Many thanks for your feedback on the reggae post, your comment was most welcomed.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Cubano, that sounds likee an interesting herbal mix. I'll have to try it sometime. Right now, I'm listening to The Heptones and sipping Madagascar Vanilla Red, cheers!

xoliquoricexo said...

this is so nicely-written, you make me want to max out my credit card on tea, LOL.

thanks for dropping by :-) it's always a pleasure to "see" you!


Lara Dunston said...

I'm a tea and coffee person, but I do love chai - Indian chai especially - but I love it the Indian way, with milk.

P.S. I finally got around to updating my blogroll and updating your URL - sorry about that!

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

Contact me or visit my blog. You won my Mr and Mrs Smith giveaway / raffle!!!!

Fly Girl said...

Xoli, I can't think of a better way to use a credit card!

Lara,I love chai the Indian way too.

Jen, I won! Thanks so much!

Vera Marie said...

Only Tea. I'm a tea snob. Like White tea, or green tea. Do love vanilla, but not spicy like chai or cinammon flavored. THank goodness restaurants are finally beginning to serve something besides Lipton!

katemade designs said...

yet another similarity between us. I also am a tea person. Though I stick to the black teas of the UK. Not too into the spices but will try when out but I abhor fruity flavored teas from a bag, it can't be natural. In the same way I dislike sprayed on flavor in chips.
we must do tea some time ; )