Archive for January, 2009

A Lovely Cuppa

I am a lifelong coffee swiller. I started drinking coffee in high school, and never really stopped. The blossoming of premium coffee that started in the 90’s with Starbucks increased my appreciation for a good cup, and reduced my patience with bad brew. The coffee in my office isn’t great, but it’s not terrible; also it is free and always available. Six or more cups a day was not uncommon for me.

But I’m getting older. Time was, I could have a cup of coffee a half-hour before bed, and go right to sleep. Those days are no more. Nowadays, a cup of coffee after dinner and I have trouble falling asleep; two cups and I’m up all night. So I gave up coffee after dinner a while ago. However, the coffee was starting to tear up my stomach. So I quit completely.

I didn’t set out to give up coffee. In early December, I had a mild sore throat. One evening, I decided to treat it with a hot toddy – in this case tea, with honey and bourbon. Now, a few years ago, a co-worker turned me on to loose tea from Adagio Teas. I have their IngenuiTea teapot, which is the most convenient way to make a cup of tea I’ve seen. Since I hadn’t used the teapot in a while, I didn’t have much on hand for tea – just a set of samplers I had received when I ordered an extra teapot for Sherri to use (mine was at work). Wanting something to go with honey (and bourbon), I made a cup of Citron Green. It helped my throat, and I loved having a hot beverage in the evening again. Tea has about half the caffeine of an average cup of coffee (and much less than a strong coffee like Starbucks), and green tea has about half the caffeine of black tea.

In addition to the reduced caffeine, I noticed that the tea wasn’t irritating my stomach either, so I tried some other teas in the sampler. This led to a fresh order from Adagio, and some more sampling. After another week, I found that I was honestly enjoying tea more than coffee, and just stopped drinking the coffee.

So I’m now a tea convert. I’m still trying different samplers occaisionally, but here are my daily teas:

  1. Earl Grey. Captain Picard was right. Now, this is an acquired taste for some people. Earl Grey is a black tea flavored with oil of bergamot, a citrus fruit. It is somewhat floral. I’ve always liked it, but Adagio’s version, “Aristocrat Earl Grey” (also called “Bravo”) is outstanding. This is my first-cup-of-the-morning tea. I enjoy this tea with a splash of milk and a little sugar – about 1 light teaspoon to an 8 oz cup of tea. I don’t want it to be sweet, but I find that a little sugar brings out a lot of the flavors in the tea.

  2. Yunnan Jig. A black tea from the Yunnan region of China. I’ve spent several minutes trying to figure out how to describe it. It reminds me of a classic black tea, like English Breakfast tea, but so much better. I was never a huge fan of regular black teas, but this is now my standard tea. Sublime. I take this the same way as the Earl Grey – milk and sugar.

  3. Citron Green. This is a green tea flavored with citrus. It is excellent with a half-teaspoon or so of honey. It’s a great tea to relax with, and is the tea I always reach for after 8pm, if I’m having tea.

If you’d like to try some tea, I’d certainly recommend trying a sampler of loose teas from Adagio. They offer a number of samplers – black, green, oolong, flavors, herbal, and more. They used to sell samplers along with the IngenuiTea teapot at a discount, but I can’t find that on the site. Customers can send free $5 gift certificates to their friends, so if you’d like a gift certificate, send me an email and I’ll pass one along.

Oh, and I’m not the only fan of loose tea in general or Adagio in particular; what started as a comment to Effika’s post on the subject became this post.