The First Time Ever I Drank Tea

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Do you remember your first cup of tea? I surely do not at all. I think I started drinking it regularly sometime in middle school, but I’d probably had it before then. This is actually confounding me that I can’t remember? You don’t know me very well, dear internet, but I have a penchant for remembering things so well that it makes other people kind of uncomfortable sometimes.

Anyways! I don’t remember my first cup of tea. It was just a part of growing up for me, which is maybe strange, considering Tennessee is not super high up there on a list of places where tea drinking is popular. One place that it is popular, though, is Ireland.

The video below shows three Irish people trying tea for the first time. I wonder what I’d think of it if I could try it over again? The world will never know, but this video is pretty funny.

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Tea and Jam, no Toast

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Tea cultures vary immensely from country to country–and from person to person, too. Everyone likes their cup just a little bit differently. Did you know that in Russia, it’s customary to use jam as a sweetener?

I learned this from a novel I read last winter and promptly became infatuated with it. That’s a thing I do–filch habits from fictional characters, especially food-related ones. In the book, that tea wasn’t offhanded; it was a gesture of kindness from someone who knew the main character wouldn’t have had it in a long time.

Next time you’re brewing a cup of tea, scoop a spoonful of fruit jam while it’s steeping. To keep it traditional, try it with a smoky black tea like lapsang souchong and use strawberry jam. It lends just enough sweetness and a lovely, fruity undertone to the cup. Plus, you’ll to eat bits of fruit when you reach the bottom!

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I took this last winter, which means there’s probably jam in that mug.

The Flavor of Fall

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Chai tea is my go-to drink on a cold autumn afternoon. Last year, I went through a whole tin of vanilla chai in about a month. This year, I’d like to branch out a bit more, maybe try some flavors that are even more distinctly “autumn.”

David’s Tea, a popular loose leaf brand, has several new blends out for the fall. They’ve got pumpkin chai, carrot cupcake, blueberry muffin, orange glow, s’mores chai, and more. I’m not usually one for flavored teas like that, or even herbal teas at all, but there’s quite a few I’d like to try. You can purchase them here.

What kind of tea will you favor this fall?

The Teapot’s History

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Tea has been around for thousands of years, but did you know that the teapot as we know it today has only existed for about 500 years?

The history of the teapot as we know it today started in China in the 16th century, though its use wasn’t popularized until the Ming dynasty of the 1600s. These early Yixing teapots were made from clay, and the technique eventually developed into porcelain–or “china,” as it is often referred to.

Asia introduced both tea and teapots to Europe during the 17th century. Europe eventually developed its own pottery industry so that the teapots did not have to imported; the same thing would happen in America in the 1800s.

For more information about the history of the teapot, read this article here.

I hardly use a teapot, though I believe we have two in the cupboard. Usually I’m just making one cup for myself. Do you use one?

This Tea’s Gone Funny

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I am not sure what the Venn diagram of tea drinkers and comedy lovers looks like. All I know for sure is that I’m firmly in the middle. Typically, though, you wouldn’t think there’d be much if any overlap in the circles for tea and comedy themselves.

You would think! You would be wrong!

In the video below, Jimmy Fallon joins YouTube comedians Rhett & Link to ask, “Will it tea?” I’m not familiar with Rhett and Link’s work, but apparently they do a whole series like this on their channel, Good Mythical Morning.

They play pretty fast and loose with the definition of tea. Goat meat? Deodorant? They’re not subverting the definition of tea so much as just being kind of gross, but I did laugh!

Tea Time with Hannah

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I sat down for conversations with three different tea drinkers, recorded for posterity/entertainment/a grade/etc.

You can listen to Episode 0 of Tea Time by clicking through the link.

Also, I am very aware the music sounds like “Crash into Me” by Dave Matthews Band. It is not “Crash into Me.” Just for like, legal reasons, I’m saying that. Anyways! Listen to me talk to people! Podcasts!

Tea vs. Coffee: Round 2

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Which is better for you, tea or coffee?

People argue for both–and usually the one they argue for tells you which one they drink. We are steadfast and loyal, us tea and coffee drinkers. We defend our preferred beverage till death. But when it comes down to the science, do either of them have any actual health benefits?

Scientists are curious about this, too, it turns out. There have been numerous studies over the years. Which have the scientists have concluded is better for you? Well… the answer’s not so simple. It depends on your health concerns, apparently.

This article from the Telegraph goes further into detail about which drink is best for what. Give it a read! Your morning drink may be doing more for you than just waking you up.

Mug Shots

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If what’s inside is it good enough, then the cup you’re drinking from shouldn’t matter. Shouldn’t, but it kind of does, doesn’t it? Presentation is one of the three criteria contestants are judged for on Chopped, after all.

The mug or cup I choose to have my tea from says something about my mood, most mornings. Also I just like having nice, cute things, which is not a crime. Below are some pictures of mine and my roommate’s current collection.

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One that looks like our cat Barbara, a Julliard mug, and a faceted white one that I favor.

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The Office, Romania, and East Tennessee State University.

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Chip from Beauty and the Beast, a plain red mug, and James Madison University.

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A tin mug featuring a variety of flowers, a Ravenclaw stein, and an NYC mug showing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Two Sugars and a Splash of Vodka, Please

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Have you ever tried a tea cocktail? I have exactly one (1) time. It was not very good, but I’m willing to give it another shot! There are a lot of different concoctions to try, according to the internet.

This article from The Spruce lists twenty different drinks. I’ll include a few I’d like to make sometime.

  • Autumn Chai Swizzle
  • English Christmas Punch
  • Ginger Tea
  • Tea-tini

Here’s an easy way to make combine happy hour and tea time: infuse your liquor! All you have to do is let several tea bags steep in the alcohol for half an hour to several hours, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be. (Fruity teas in vodka work well in my experience, for a jumping off point.)

What will you try this weekend?

Tea vs. Coffee: Round 1

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Tea vs. Coffee: An Age-Old Debate. Where do you come down on the two?

I come from a divided household. My dad is firmly a coffee drinker–a “black, no sugar” kind of guy. I don’t even think he drinks it because he likes it; it’s just for the caffeine boost. My mom drinks exactly two cups of tea every morning. She used to be a coffee drinker, but now she only drinks it if that’s all that’s available.

I used to vacillate between the two. I like coffee, but I prefer the taste of tea. After going off caffeine completely for a few months last year, now a cup of coffee is usually too much for me. What is the difference in caffeine content between tea and coffee?

If we’re looking at the leaves and beans themselves, tea leaves actually contain more caffeine than coffee beans do. However, when brewed, the beans release more caffeine than tea leaves do; most of tea’s caffeine stays in the leaves.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the average cup of coffee contains 95-165 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. A cup of black tea of the same size contains 25-48 mg; green tea has 25-29 mg.

Coffee packs more of a punch, by the numbers. A single cup contains two to six times as much caffeine as a cup of tea. I think I’ll just go to bed earlier and stick to tea. How about you?