This is just a fun little post about my favorite drink and the lengths I’d go to learn about and drink it! Right now everything is so stressful I have been indulging in tea drinking more than ever. Probably too much? Tea tourism does seem to be stretching across the globe however. So here are three tea stories!
Am I….Uncle Iroh?My introduction into tea was one that took some time. I grew up the typical American with no interest in this drink. After all, in particular, my country had thrown a whole lot of tea into the Boston harbor. And the tea that you buy in the stores in the US is generally terrible.
I took an entire class on tea at my weird first university and learned so much – and fell in love with tea. Now, it borders on obsession.
Story 1: High Tea in Every Town in the UK
When I went to Oxford University, I took my chance to travel as much as possible. I needed to sample all the best scones and tea the United Kingdom had to offer. I was generally assumed to be Canadian in every tea shop I went. And I was pretty happy with that. Being marked as an American on sight while traveling rarely means anything good. Frankly, being from the US is often a source of embarrassment for me “Wow, you’re so much nicer/down-to-earth/cultured/etc than other Americans I’ve met.” Or, as my good friend from London would say “the most un-American, American, I’ve ever met.”
All until I went to Eteaket in Edinburgh. The tea, the setting, the price, everything was lovely. Except the raisins in the scones. I hate raisins. I looked around. Took a deep breath. And re-assimilated into my true American self and picked out all those raisins and had a delicious meal 😛
Story 2: Why Little Known Wazuka Is My Favorite Place in Japan
Despite having taken an entire class on tea I was shocked to discover that I basically knew nothing about Japanese tea. I knew a reasonable amount concerning matcha, powdered green tea, but nothing more.
When visiting the Obubu tea fields in Wazuka, Japan, it was a ridiculously life changing event. It changed my whole outlook on how to make tea. At home I can tend to have a bit of a scientific take on everything. I carefully weigh my leaves and use a kettle with a thermometer to get to the perfect temperature. I know. I’m weird. It’s who I am.
But Japan showed me that I can replace exactness with ceremony. The meditative nature of tea when I first got into it was surprisingly helpful with battling my depression. Now, the imprecise but carefully mediated motions of the basic tea ceremony helped me with my control issues. I could let go, knowing that I could listen for the water to be just about to boil. I knew that by pouring my water into different jars I would cool the water enough for whatever tea I was brewing. It didn’t have to be perfect.
Also, Japanese green tea is freaking delicious.
Story 3: People Watching in Boseong, South Korea
When I’ve had too much tea I can become giddy. I’m already a bouncing ball of energy on my best day. But wow me and my friend went hard on all things green tea flavored in Boseong.
Boseong is gorgeous, and essentially a green tea theme park. Matcha ice cream, green tea chocolate, green tea noodles, actual tea, more tea…you’re getting the picture. We’d had a lot of tea. Soon we were gossiping from a balcony about all the different couples below, theorizing their lives. We got so involved we basically created an entire backstory and future for a couple we would refer to as the “Sun” couple. They were genuinely two of the most gorgeous people we had seen and were clearly totally in love. Sickening, really. Entirely unfair.
We must have looked ridiculous, if anyone was bothering to look at us. “Oh! Oh! Is he taking another photo of her? EEEEeEE! She got so close to brush his hair back! Look at the way she poses – how annoyingly perfect they are!” When they left to climb higher in the fields, we were fairly convinced that the man must be about to propose to his goddess of a girlfriend. Is being drunk on tea a thing? Because I definitely came away a little embarrassed by our exuberance lol
I hope you enjoyed these short tales! Asia is starting to lift restrictions on quarantine and travel as the virus comes to a close here (sadly, it is still raging everywhere else >.<). I’m hopeful that I will be able to resume my tea tourism in Taiwan and elsewhere at the end of this year!
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