Tag Archives: black tea

Life of a Tea Drinker, Chapter VIX

Chapter, the Ninth

In which the author relishes the change in season and body, the moisture in the air and her constant need for hydration…

It’s the first day of Autumn. What a wonderful season. Jackets, socks, cardigans, tummy panels. OK, that last one is not an annual addition to my Fall fashion. I have to say, the extra layer of support that sweated me over the summer is now a welcome shield between my stretched belly skin and the chill of the morning air.

I walked out the door and down the front steps into a cloud this morning. A soft fog had settled on the city. The early chill was a soothing contrast to my personal space heater strapped to my front. No, I can’t bend in the middle. Yes, my toes are no longer visible from a standing position. (I’m a little bigger than the last photo shared here.) But I know I won’t freeze in the coming months. Thanks, Oliver.

The extra moisture today is only helping my skin. I’ve been trying to moisturize myself into the prevention of stretch marks. So far, so good. I think the power of positive thinking is also on my side. (Hydration applies inside and out. Even though I’m looking forward to a hot cuppa, I can’t get enough water today!)

Autumn is a great time for tea drinkers. We’ve been guzzling iced tea all summer (sorry to offend, Republic of Tea, but sometimes “sip by sip” just doesn’t compare to thirst-quenching “gulp by gulp”). Now we’re ready for our spiced hot tea, our smoky toasted tea, our classic hot black varieties. We dig in the back of the pantry shelf for those beloved flavors that tingled our senses last year. It is the season of tea!

Although I’m at work today, I look forward to a steaming cup of English Breakfast to kick off the new season. Maybe tonight will reveal the first cinnamon-inspired cup of Autumn. So many endless possiblities, so much to celebrate.

Is there any better way to welcome autumn while at work?

Have a favorite Fall tea? Share in the comments!

Leave a comment

Filed under Life of a Tea Drinker

Simple Things

Decaffeinated Ceylon
by Harney & Sons
(Available by order from their Web site. Unless you happen to be lucky enough to live near one of their East Coast tea rooms. In that case, step 1 is to fly to St. Louis and pick up your favorite tea blogger on your way.)

Simple things. Isn’t that a Christmas song? Maybe it’s Favorite Things. And that’s not a Christmas song. (Although, I was forced to sing it in my high school Spanish class at a nursing home at Christmastime…in Spanish. An example of the kind of humiliation we’re subjected to as minors, because they know they can’t subject adults to that level of mortification. We wouldn’t stand for it. Probably because we’re still haunted by memories.)

I’ve been experiencing “pregnancy brain” this morning (hence, the Simple Things/Favorite Things intro). It’s one of those slow Saturday mornings, just me and the cat while Mike sleeps. We don’t have anything going on until this evening. A gathering for which I will make either apricot oat bars or chocolate chip cookies (with vanilla pudding mix). I think I know which treat would be more nutritious, and I think I know which treat Mike would prefer.

It’s one of those mornings in which I wander from room to room deciding what I’m going to do with my morning hours. Find something to read for my devotional, write a tea blog post, feed the cat, look for the camera–Oh right! That’s why I came in this room! It happens to senile people and pregnant women. At least it’s not as bad as taking Mike’s keys (and my keys) to work with me. I got a call from my poor, confused husband wondering how he was supposed to drive to work. I knew then, this gestational period was going to be an adventure.

Like just now, when I put my hand out to grab the mouse, but my laptop has a finger pad. Sigh.

Enough about my brain. On to better and tastier things. Simple, but good things.

A giant mug of hot, black tea is probably one of the most comforting things on this earth. The rich aroma of the leaves as they steep, the full-bodied sweet-bitter delight that hugs your tongue. It’s better than comfort food. It is comfort food.

This morning, I chose Harney & Sons Decaffeinated Ceylon. I have a big box of pyramid bags that are perfect for grabbing a morning cup, without any fuss or prep.

This box is actually on sale as of today at harney.com. While you’re there, you can pick up some of their featured iced tea…and let me know how you liked it. I’m anxious to try it. If you like fast, one-cup iced tea on the run, Twinings has a nice line of cold-brew iced tea bags. You just put a tea bag in your glass, fill it with room temperature water, let it steep a few minutes, and add ice. No boiling necessary. Very clever.

Over at Harney & Sons, you can also get decaf Assam. Both Ceylon and Assam are excellent black teas.

The first thing I do before I steep is bring the tea bag or spoonful of leaves to my nose and breath deeply. It’s the proper way to enjoy a hot cuppa, akin to sniffing the cork from a bottle of wine. Or like Steve Martin asking Kermit the Frog if he’d like to “smell the bottle cap” in the Muppet Movie. (This is where the post goes downhill. Feel free to take the above information and run.) My brother, Jason (lovingly called Goober–he lovingly calls me Aypooh), should be quoting this line aloud as he reads this.

Also on this Saturday morning–it’s getting darker…I sense some much-needed rain!–I chose an informal cup for my delicious black tea: my disappearing T.A.R.D.I.S. mug. Any Doctor Who fans? No? Good. Then you won’t judge me too harshly. Just skip past this series of photos and be confused. It’s a silly sci-fi fan thing. I’ve been hopelessly sucked into the world of British film and television.

T.A.R.D.I.S. mug. Giant enough for big gulps of black tea. Here, we see an empty hole in space. What might appear here, I wonder?

Oh, look. There's the T.A.R.D.I.S. sitting in the middle of a London street.

I pour my hot water over the tea bag and...wait! Where did it go?

Is this killing you yet?

Look up there! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a satellite. (We can't even see up there, but just pretend.) No! It's the T.A.R.D.I.S. back in space!

If you’d like to know more about Doctor Who and his traveling spaceship/time machine that resembles an old British police call box, you can Google it. But I realize you’re frightened beyond words by the geekiness that is free-flowing from this post today.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, full of simple things, or favorite things…or Christmas songs. And lots of black tea. Even though it’s decaf, Oliver can’t help dancing a little in my belly.

2 Comments

Filed under Tea Reviews

Life of a Tea Drinker, Chapter VI

Chapter, the Sixth

In which the author grieves for her senses and explores the woes of caffeine withdrawal…

I didn’t think I’d really miss caffeine that much. I wasn’t a coffee drinker (I’ve heard this is a nightmare withdrawal for pregnant women in love with these beans). I drank enough herbal tea that I knew I’d still drink tea. Decaf black tea was starting to grow on me.

Let me give you a picture of how my day has progressed.

I wake up, get ready for work, run some laundry upstairs, iron Mike’s shirt, eat breakfast, feed Words, pack a lunch, and run out the door. Everything’s fine and dandy, I don’t think twice about it when I’m bombarded with e-mails about changes and the need for details, the work stacking up on my desk, the meetings. Then 3:00 rolls around. Uh oh. CRASH! My eyes are heavy. I find myself dozing, red pen mid-air.  To prevent an alcohol rubbing, ink removal ceremony later this evening (already went through that a few weeks ago), I run to the break room to make myself a cup of decaf black tea.

Suddenly, decaf is a poor man’s Assam. Adding sugar is like adding a tiny drop of syrup to a dry stack of pancakes. Has anyone noticed how unsatisfying decaf black tea is when you’re tasting the caffeinated version in your imagination? There is actually a taste difference. Nothing satisfies!

Powdered caffeine. Looks a lot like an illegal substance, doesn't it? Appropriately so. (Image from en.wikipedia.org)

I’ve heard that caffeine in small doses is fine for the average pregnant woman. Coffee has a lot, but tea isn’t bad. Chocolate is minimal in moderate (what’s that?) doses. The people who spout this information obviously have no idea how much caffeine I drank in a day, pre-pregnancy. And even if I had one cup, it would be a gateway cup. I would have to have more. Withdrawal would start all over again with pangs and cravings. Am I being too dramatic? I’ve been told I have the urge to overdramatize in my gestational state. (Deal with it.)

Besides, if I use up my caffeine quota on black tea, do you really want to be the one to stand between me and my chocolate fix later? I also heard that one of the pharmacists at my company was known to chug 5 sodas (pop, Coke–for those with dialects, read a book) every day while she was pregnant. It was one of those high-caffeine brands. I’m sorry, but that can’t be right. I know several doctors (and pharmacists) who pour out their knowledge of nutrition, and then cram Twinkies down their throats after clinical hours. No offense to nutritionists and doctors who at least try.

So I’ve decided that a nap after work (even if dinner is waiting) is necessary for my sanity, the health of those around me, and the well-being of the world, in that order.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life of a Tea Drinker