on a chilly, dreary saturday morning - made all the more painful after the unfair teaser of utopian spring weather in the past few weeks - i just want to hide under a big blanket and tuck into an f. scott fitzgerald novel. yes, there are little chores to do around the house (figure out where i put my microphone, throw away an old batch of cupcakes, maybebutprobablynot clean the bathroom), but sometimes you have to ignore all that sensible stuff and temporarily lose yourself in a fictional world.
this is the prime occasion for a cup of tea, no? we'll save the coffee for later, when the am flips to pm and it's really time to jump start the day. coffee is for get-up-and-go, and tea is for get-up-walk-the-dog-and-go-back-to-bed. i am by no means a tea fanatic, or even really an enthusiast. i have a few boxes of herbals, a 100 count box of tetley (that i've been chipping away at for literally 3 years), and some other odds and tea-ends haphazardly crammed onto a shelf in a kitchen cabinet. what i'm usually after is not nuance or delicacy, but a bitter, hearty elixir to sand down the rough edges of my mood. my current go-to is a loose lavender earl grey tea from clairmont farms, a lavender centric farm in santa barbara county, california. oh man, i bet that place smells AMAZING.
i'm almost certain that my mom gave me this tea after a trip to the west coast with her husband. but how many years ago was that? how many moves has this sturdy jar survived? can tea go bad? this stuff, both floral and bold, seems to be holding up just fine, despite the fact that i didn't have a loose tea filter for a long time and the tea just sat neglected on the shelf, patiently collecting dust. i don't even know where the tea infuser pictured above came from - it just sort of entered my life in that mysterious, subtle way that small objects have a habit of doing. i say a little thank you to it every time i pour steaming water over the fragrant leaves, and the lavender essence wafts into the air.
did you guys know that there is a whole, mind bending-ly huge tea culture out there? when i was in my early 20's, i went to my first proper tea house in nyc, right near washington square park. clear as a bell, i remember the feeling of something akin to humiliation as the barista handed me their tea menu in a freaking binder, packed to the gills with a hundred odd pages. i suffer from acute over-choice overwhelmedness, and in a flushed daze chose some sort of berry-kiwi tea that i actually really disliked. so i don't go into high end tea shops looking for new sensations; in fact, i really try to spend as little money as possible on tea. i'm more than content to keep scooping out one spoonful at a time of tea leaves from and old jar with a faded label. for me, tea's true beauty isn't in the top note or bouquet, but in the soothing properties that start to kick in somewhere between the mug and the body.