Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Emotions of Tea Pairing

One of my dearest friends lost her father last winter and she had to travel to the other side of the world for the funeral. Before she left we would drink Chai and eat cake a few times a week as we gossiped and discussed the meaning of life (which we still have not figured out). When she came back from the funeral she stopped by to see me at my shop and ordered a piece of cake and...ahem...a cup of coffee. Now, anyone who knows me understands that the coffee is good but the tea is excellent. She asked for the coffee almost sheepishly and said that she needed to alleviate her jet lag. This was in March and she is still drinking coffee every day. I asked her last week what caused the switch from tea to coffee and she said that she did not make a specific decision to switch. We figured that it was caused by the emotions of her loss and her need to have something almost bitter tasting (plus, she grew up drinking tea and maybe didn't want the reminder). I got to thinking about this and realize that there are lots of emotions behind the way we pair tea with our emotional disposition. I regularly have customers who buy three or four types of tea to drink at different times- a brisk Assam for a no-nonsense cup before work, a lavender earl grey to pair with a great novel, chamomile for a hectic and hurried day or a sencha for a sense of well being and tranquility. There are so many delicious varieties of tea that it is easy to have a few on hand to match your mood- or to improve your mood. In the meantime, I am trying to get my friend to transition back to tea!

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