My Tea Journey
Spring has been a bit slow to come. Or, maybe I should be saying 'spring is here in all of its chaos.' Yes, that works better. One day it's 80 and the next it's 50 or even cooler. One day rain, another sunshine, one day wind, another snow flurries. I think it's holding true to what we all believe, spring is very unpredictable. But, I'm embracing spring in all of its glory, just like I embrace tea.
Someone is always asking me which, and how many of my teas are my favorites. The answer is always the same - I love all teas! Tea has a way of enhancing my needs and my moods, and lifting me when it is needed. I could be in a deep, reflective mood, or one filled with excitement over a new tea blend I have come up with. Tea has that way, kind of like spring, and it carries as many options as an unpredictable spring does. There are teas that nurse you back to health, there are teas that help you explore a deeper self. I'm not kidding, there are teas for every mood and occasion. There is no need for another beverage, other than a water, at least for me.
Being a tea drinker is much different than being a coffee drinker, and I have great experience with both of them. Working in hospitality for many, many years, managing hotels and restaurants, as well as working in kitchens (my favorite), I drank coffee all day, everyday, until it began to taste like acid, or what I presume acid would taste like, if one was to partake in it. I remember the exact day when I said I had had enough. It was about twenty years ago. I was standing at the coffee machine about 5:00 am thinking I just don't think I can handle one more cup of coffee. I took one of those Farmers Brothers (hotel mainstay) teabags, dropped it into my coffee mug, filled it with hot water, and headed for my office. That was the first day. Not the first day I had ever had tea, but definitely the first day of my 'for real' tea journey.
Somewhere along the line, I discovered that tea is one of my many passions. Yes, I'm a writer, and that is a passion as well. Nature, animals, yes, lots of passions, but TEA for sure has topped my list, right up there with family. Actually, I have found that tea helps me through the long hours of writing, without the jitters and the ups and downs that coffee used to do for me. Tea keeps me level, and on target. And, of course, true to my forever curious personality, I set out to explore all the different teas and tea houses across my many travels. There is no such thing as a tea that doesn't feed that curiosity. Now, that being said, there are some teas better than the others. For instance, if one loves Darjeeling, there are Darjeelings and then there are Darjeelings and they are delicious, and I prefer the latter. There's a lot to be said about how they are grown, and how they are handled before they get to us. Then there are many blends that are not my favorite, but that is just one's own palate. I love simple tea, the leaves in all their glory. A good cup of tea doesn't need flavorings or sweetener. At least that is my mindset. Just simple tea.
Now I am a 'tea-street vendor' - a part of the awesome 'Capital City Public Market' in downtown Boise, ID, and as with all things that cause us to move forward and grow in this world, meeting new people every weekend has been fabulous. There are people who are old hands at tea, and they know their likes and dislikes, but they are always willing to try one they've never tried before. Then there are those who are just taking that trail that splits off from the every day coffee consumption. Testing the 'tea waters' - so to speak. They love tasting all of the teas. Their palates are open to discovery.
Admittedly, I have never really imagined myself selling tea on the street, being a street vendor, but like most anything else, I am open to just about anything, at least once. But, this experience is way beyond what I thought it might be. I am loving it. It is solidifying my beliefs that most of the people I meet are truly curious about tea.
Each week, on the street, I will bring new excitement to my booth. This is for the people who wander towards my booth, as well as for me. I have a lot of excitement to share. In the meantime, enjoy a cup of tea. Sit outside, enjoy the breeze, and just know, and embrace life as we know it.