Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Daily: Insanitea

When I was younger, the reason that my Dad explained to me of why Asian people like Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles couldn’t hold their liquor was that throughout history, Europeans had beer, and Asians had tea.
I was pretty satisfied with that answer, and while I was younger, I always figured in that respect I was very European. Not that recent events have made me change my opinion, but I have grown to appreciate tea over the past year, thanks to the efforts of my friend Zelnor, as well as the influence of my internship.


Zelnor really celebrates tea, I have to say. While we were still in school, he made a science out of preparing his roiboos vanilla tea – how long the teabag had to stay in the boiling water, how much sugar to add, how much milk, how warm the water really ought to be. I’m not sure if he ever perfected the recipe (did you? You need to let me know!), but going over to his place I learned that nuh-uh, don’t simply take white grain sugar for your cups of tea: take brown rock sugar for best effects (it’s like combining honey and white grain sugar, WHAMMY)!
That’s a practice we have adopted in our household now.
My parents are actually great tea-drinkers. My Mom hails from a country where tea is one of the main exports, and tea is what you drink at any given time of the day, no matter what the temperature is. They actually insist that tea is great to drink to cool down (I never understood it, and I always feel really warm drinking tea there. So I guess that’s the European beer instinct getting in the way, or something like that).
My father used to import tea directly here, and set up sales with people in his company, but we’ve stopped that business after internal turmoil simply made it too difficult to continue the practice. Nonetheless my parents’ natural preference for tea must have genetically marked me too – my brother is crazy about drinking coffee (just like them) (you all should know by now that I’m just a coffee sniffer).
So when at work, I suddenly had the insane variety of teabags at my disposition, the Virgo in me went on a rampage, creating this:
 

This is what I guess you could call an (incomplete) inventory. I don’t actually have a proper name for it. Titles take the fun out of things sometimes, I find. In any case, the weird Virgo that I am (a slob with a penchant for organizing things), I started collecting the labels of teabags that I had consumed. I also started throwing out doubles, unless the print was on both sides. And when I started writing up things in this odd notebook (from the best store in my Mom’s home country, no less – it must be the tea connection!), I started sticking in the labels, and writing up which tea bag they came from.
Some might call this pedantic insanity. I say that’s right, it’s insanitea. While  is jealous about how deep my passion for tea has gone, surpassing his science of brewing the perfect “cuppa” tea, I believe I have merely scratched the surface of the experience of tea drinking. Collecting a variety of tags doesn’t mean I have acquired a taste for it, like a connoisseur. I feel more derogatorily like a bird watcher, who just crosses off birds on a list that he has seen or heard.
And yet. I think I may be on to something.
Cheers!


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