My evolution as a tea drinker

You might think someone who blogs about moods would be a long-time tea lover.

Or, maybe you might think someone who is easily over-stimulated and craves calm and ease would be pouring herself a nightly cup of tea, while curling up in her pajamas, and digging into a good book.

You might also think someone who grew up in the place where the most famous tea-party in history occurred would be a tea drinker.

Not so much.

Occasional Tea Drinker

Sure, I've had tea off and on over the years. I would usually have a box of Celestial Seasonings deep in my cupboard and it would last for years. SleepyTime or Peppermint. And honestly I'd just grab it when I remembered, or there was nothing else. Or I was bored.

On my first trip abroad in 2003, when I had a few days in London. I went with my friend to the famous department store there and had an afternoon tea, all proper, with fancy sandwiches. This was probably some kind of English Black Tea, Earl Grey? which I thought sounded appropriate for the occasion.

I had to ask my server if I should put lemon and cream. Evidently, it is one or the other, not both.

Suddenly a Daily Morning Habit

In full disclosure, by identifying myself as a tea drinker, that is not to say that I do not also identify as a coffee drinker.

It was my daily cup of coffee that eased me into a daily cup of tea. Let me explain.

I lived in Helsinki, Finland, for a semester in 2012. During my family's stay, we lived in researcher housing which provided us with a European style breakfast each morning. (When I say European style breakfast, what I mean is cold cuts and cheeses. Fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Breads. Butter. Porridge and beyond).

It was the Finnish coffee I just couldn't do! The country is known for being great coffee consumers - you can find it everywhere there! The quality of the coffee was variable however.

In my cherished Helsinki breakfast room, the coffee was very acidic, and even I, who didn't consider myself too sensitive at the time to foods and drinks, found that even a small cup of this coffee upset my stomach every time.

And, so, I switched. I had a black tea with milk and honey every morning with my European breakfast. And loved my new morning ritual.

And, in the cold, cold winter when I was walking in the elements every day, and I was socializing with my Finnish colleagues and American and Mexican expat friends, there were many occasions for having a cup of tea. And in our many shopping trips to Stockmann and to Other, the varieties and choices were new, healthful, and fun to try.

These were crucial steps in my evolution as a tea drinker.

Tea Supports My Health Goals Every Single Day

Now back in the States, I went searching for a black tea like the one I loved in Helsinki.

Maybe it was the context and environment, but I have yet to enjoy a daily black tea as much as that cup during my cherished time in Helsinki.

However, it did get me into the tea habit.

Different black teas. Orange pekoe. Red. Puereh. So many herbal choices. A favorite herbal tea I had in Helsinki, also available in Juneau, Alaska. (pukka)

Last year, I learned in my Sugar Detox program about the benefits of Twig Tea (though I must admit it is not my favorite). And the benefits of Green Teas. And, and.

Tea Supports My Emotional Well-Being

It wasn't until I had made friends with a book group for practicing non-violent communication that I made the aha! connection to the emotionally supportive qualities to a cup of tea with friends.

Every bi-weekly meeting at my friend's house we were offered a simple mug of tea. Choose from the assorted packets. Heat up your water. Pour.

And be supportive of each other. Struggles and successes.

None of my "usual" pick of a (sometimes welcomly) numbing glass of wine over bitching. Just a hot cup of fragrant liquid love.

Treat Yourself: Teas for Your Mood and Health

A famous Seattle choice is Market Spice. A really yummy spicy, satisfying drink, reminiscent of the Public Market.

An elegant choice for a special time would be the Tea Forte cool tea pyramids. We found these offered in two hotels we stayed at recently in Seattle and love the cute little leaf that peaks out of our cups. The design is ingenious, and the assortments are really fun. I can still taste the Blackberry Merlot I enjoyed after a night on the town.

Always look for organic tea leaves.

Where the tea leaves are harvested matters for their nutritional potency. Another brand that I love are Numi teas. I talked about the Numi Turmeric Tea here.

Ultimately I have come to be a regular, every day tea drinker. While I have not found the perfect black tea to replace my morning coffee, throughout the rest of the day, I go for tea. I have a nice variety in my office and at home, to fit my mood and my tastes. Hydration is so important to me and tea drinking helps me reach my goal of 80-100 oz. a day.

What are your favorite teas? How do you like to serve them?

What are your favorite ways of drinking tea?

In good mood and health! Jennifer



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