Yesterday, I had a tea party.
I’ve been drinking tea for a LONG time but never ever thought to host a party at my house, so when I met Christa, a rep for Steeped Tea, at the Kinderland market — a kind of garage sale with used children items, as well as various vendors — over in Sherwood Park a few months ago, I thought, “Why not?” and signed up for a show!
Tea in the morning, tea in the evening, tea at supper time,
You get tea when it’s raining, tea when it’s snowing,
Tea when the weather’s fine.
You get tea as a mid-day stimulant
You get tea with your afternoon tea
For any old ailment or disease
For Christ sake have a cuppa tea.
I wouldn’t say that I’m super familiar with tea, but I’m no stranger, either. It didn’t really start until I was out of university, since prior to that it was always sugary drinks and beverages that aren’t that good for you (vodka, anyone?). When I started playing gigs out at tea houses, I started to really enjoy a nice cup of tea. When you’re a musician, tea is WONDERFUL. Especially on those days where you have a bit of a sore throat and need to get through a show!
One of my favourite places to play was Steeps, the urban tea house in Edmonton over on 124th Street. While the crowd and the staff were always nice, it was the time before the show that I loved — going through all of the tins of tea, smelling each one, wondering which ones I would choose to buy after the show. Back in those days, I based my selection solely on the smell of a tea. I never paid attention to what kind of tea it was.
While I did use a bit of loose tea back in those days, I would also buy plenty of tea from the grocery store — well, what I thought was tea. To anyone who knows tea, the stuff in the teabags at the grocery store, for the most part, is quite literally the bottom of the barrel stuff, the “dust” that remains after the fantastic loose tea leaves are removed. Not that great in flavour, but easy.
In the past few months I realized that that’s what I kept grabbing for — the easy teas. I had placed an order at David’s Tea not too long ago and had a great collection of loose teas, but it was always the Earl Grey, the boring old teabags, that I would put in my cup because they required no effort. I barely even steeped the tea bags in them for that long — or else I left them in too long — so it was kind of obvious that I had never had a proper cup of tea.
If you feel a bit under the weather,
If you feel a little bit peeved,
Take granny’s stand-by potion
For any old cough or wheeze.
It’s a cure for hepatitis, it’s a cure for chronic insomnia,
It’s a cure for tonsillitis and for water on the knee.
During the show yesterday, I realized that I was doing it all wrong! I rarely paid attention, like I said, to the kinds of teas I was drinking, so I never knew what they were good for. I had no idea that rooibus and fruit teas were wonderful iced, or that you could ice tea cold, or do it warm then ice. I didn’t know that you could mix teas, or that you had to steep certain teas for a certain amount of time — too less and they wouldn’t have the right flavour, too much and they’d go bitter. I didn’t know that some teas were naturally sweet and that others could quell cravings for sweets, or that certain teas could help alleviate stomach aches, headaches, or stress, or even aid in weight loss, as well as keep you healthy.
Heck, you can even steep tea directly in beer or vodka!
Needless to say, there was a lot I could learn by paying more attention to the teas I was drinking! I decided yesterday that I would stop taking the easy way out with my beverage of choice during the day and start brewing it how its supposed to be brewed, as well as try new things — like icing my teas or mixing a few together!
As I sit here now, sipping my overnight-iced Organic Cinnamon Rooibos Chai tea from David’s Tea (a nice blend with a smooth chai flavour that doesn’t even need any sweetener!), I can honestly say that I’m no tea connoiseur, but I hope to get there one day. It really is a lot of fun trying new teas!
A note on the post title & lyrics: Not thinking I’d find anything, I decided to do a search on songs about tea. I knew the obvious one, “Tea For Two,” but had no idea that this one, “Have a Cuppa Tea” by The Kinks existed. I clicked on the YouTube video and fell in love with it. Big thanks to the British for always making me want to have a cuppa (really, whenever I watch ANY British TV show I want to drink tea) and for writing music about it.
P.S. – Stay tuned for a post showing my cupboard transformation from a haphazardly put-together baking stuff cupboard to a tea/beverage station! It’s pretty awesome. 🙂
Are you a tea drinker? What are your favourite kinds of tea?