Tea Memories

I used to have a tea blog, but it never really took off.  So I’m going to write down a few tea memories here.

Constant Comment was my first real introduction to tea.  When I was in my teens doing Bible quizzing, there was a church we quizzed at that always had this hallmark Bigelow tea alongside their spaghetti feed lunches.  I never actually realized the tea was called Constant Comment–like that that was it’s actual name.  I just thought it was the brand or something, it was written in such fancy type.  But I always recognized the tea by its ingredients: orange peel, cloves, cinnamon. So I just thought of it as orange spice tea.  I had tried a cup once that somehow turned out really good, and after that I spent a lot of quiz meet lunches trying to figure out how to make that perfect cup of orange spice tea.

Of course, I didn’t know anything about how long a tea bag should be in tea at that point in my life, and even if I had known, I had no way of telling how long it had been in there.  So I just left the tea bag in there, and it always turned out nasty, no matter how much sugar I added.  But I would get that same tea every time and try, try again!  I don’t know that I ever got the hang of it before I discovered other teas.

These days, my tea cupboard doesn’t include orange spice tea because of all the bad memories of steeping it way too strong.  And it stayed out of my life until I married my husband.  But then he would take me to visit his grandma occasionally, and guess what tea flavor she would always offer us?

Then when we moved in with her, she left her Stash Orange Spice teas in my tea cupboard, whether intentionally or not I don’t know, and so today I made myself a cup just to see what it really tastes like.  I used a timer and it’s not half bad.  But I still think I’ll take my Vanilla Chai or Irish Breakfast over Orange Spice any day.

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Another tea memory that I don’t have written down anywhere is the memory of the refugees’ tea that they always made us.  I’m half inclined to think it was actually orange spice tea.  All I know is that it was black, and that they added a LOT of sugar.  But it always tasted pretty decent and, despite the lateness of the hours we stayed at their house helping kids with their homework, I always took a cup.

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Speaking of the refugees and tea, another tea memory… When they moved to Pennsylvania and donated us half their pantry, one item that was included was a giant box of plain green tea with almost all the bags still in it.  I had always been more of a flavored tea girl up to that point.  But sometimes you just want something plain.  So I made myself a cup of plain green tea one day and was surprised by how much I liked it.  I found it especially good to drink whenever I got a cold.  It always seems to help a lot.  That was 4 years ago… I still haven’t made it through half the box yet.

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Not a tea memory, but a hot drink memory.

My first introduction to espresso was when I was in 5th grade.  I was at my friend K’s house for a sleepover, and her mom took us out to a place called Polar Bear for some drinks.  I remember thinking K was so much more experienced than me because she had actually got coffee drinks!  I didn’t know at the time that steamers were not espresso or coffee.  But K ordered a hazelnut steamer and, since I knew nothing about these drinks, I just trusted her judgment and ordered one of my own.  It was delicious.  It was my favorite “coffee” drink for a long time.

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