I have too much tea. I’m a little afraid to count how many different kinds of tea I have for fear of embarrassing myself. There was a time when I’d proudly announce to guests that they had 13 different kinds of tea to choose from. This never got the impressed reaction I was hoping for — more of a blank stare than a delighted smile.
I started drinking tea when I was a young teenager — probably much later than some of you — but early for my kind. My folks drank coffee, which I refused to drink, but I loved my tea. I remember my Uncle Bud stopping by my parent’s house one Saturday morning and commenting on my tea drinking, suggesting I was too young.
I almost certainly took up drinking tea because of my Anglophilia. I devoured books about Britain, watched nothing but Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Masterpiece Theatre on telelvision, and dreamed of someday going to the United Kingdom and falling in love with a British man.
When I did visit the UK, tea was a fact of life. Every morning I drank my cup of PG Tips and every evening before bed I drank another with my host family. It was a time to talk and get to know each other a little more.
The year Dean and I moved to Pittsburgh is when I began to hoard tea. I’d always have a box of Lipton in the house as well as Sleepytime tea. I’d also have several different other varieties for a change of pace. After we moved to the DC area I bought more tea and felt that I always needed to have a dozen or so kinds of tea to offer people: Lipton, Assam, Constant Comment, Earl Grey, Jasmine (a favorite of Frances Lide), Sleepytime, Red Zinger, and so on.
Today I cleaned out part of the pantry and I uncovered my tea stash. Some should be tossed — they are a few years old, but some were bought just last week. I’ve decided to fill my wooden tea chest with a variety of teabags and have one type of looseleaf tea always available. I’d say I’ll get through this tea in no time — perhaps by the time Clare’s out of college. I also need to resolve to not buy any more tea until what I have is used up (or at least throw away a box for each new box I purchase).
Remind me to tell you about my teapot collection sometime…