Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Rule #1

Drinking my tea this morning I pondered the following: I don't like flavored teas (and flavored coffees too! Come to think of it, I dislike almost all 'additionally flavored' beverages. Cran-Rasberry cocktail anyone? - what, cranberries alone aren't enough f-ing flavor for you?) but I love this Earl Grey which everybody knows is flavored with bergamot oil. How can that be? Then I hit on it. I love rules and order so this is what I will call my flavored beverage rule #1: The source of any additional beverage flavor must be something you would never consume independently. Now I can confidently drink teas flavored with jasmine, bergamot, eye of newt, you name it (I'm even going to throw black currants onto the list since I don't think I've ever eaten one and don't plan to) and even better I can proudly refuse Lime Coke which tastes like a moist towlette.

I'm going to extend this rule to cover alcoholic beverages as well, with the exception of triple sec which I need to make pirate drinks. I think the very nature of pirate drinks excludes them from all rules.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Call Me Mr. Earl

Christmas came a little early this year as my lady has given me a great big tin of Harney & Sons Earl Grey tea. I am an absolute fan of this tea and it makes me want to try more from the good people at Harney's. It's really really really good and I don't mind saying so. Some folks look down on Earl Greys (Earls Grey?) for being flavored and kind of froo-froo but I'm not one of those people. True, flavored teas are a little suspect but this particular variety has been around for so long it's forgiven. I recently built a prototypical desktop analogy generator and let's see what the readout says... Oh, OK, it says that it's kind of like greatest hits albums that have become great albums in their own right. I guess I would have to agree with that statement. It should come as no surprise that there are conflicting stories about the true origins of Earl Grey. Bigelow tea bags tell us it's "Named for a famous Earl.." which is one of the stupidest. Whatever the origin, most Earl Grey teas are flavored with the oil of bergamot which is an inedible citrus fruit grown in southern Italy. Peet's offers one flavored with Lavender which, despite having a weird elephant house smell, is very refreshing. I'm not sure if it's legit for them to call it Earl Grey but I'm not going to argue with them - that's not something tea people do. According to the internet, which doesn't lie, bergamot oils can be used for whatever ails you including depression, halitosis, acne and cold sores so this tea is bound to make you feel like a champ.

Friday, December 10, 2004


The holidays are here so I thought I'd spruce up the place with this lo-res image. Since I've been drinking all this Lung Ching green tea I find I'm much less lethargic, hence the renewed interest in crafts projects. In general I find any kind of drinking really sharpens my decision-making skills. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Tea Conversion part II

Looks like Erik's doing pretty well on his switch from coffee to tea. I didn't have any real doubts about him, though, because this is a guy who actually gave up eating meat to get laid. Not only that but he went on to marry the girl so he definitely knows how to change course and stick with it. Were I his guidance counselor I'd regularly hand him pamphlets about careers in motivational speaking. Instead I usually just give him shit about how we should go get us some big, messy plates of ribs. At their wedding I managed to horrify one of the other guests at the (meat-free, of course) buffet table by expressing a strong preference for the sausage dip. I got some dirty looks that day. I assumed everyone knows there's no such thing as sausage dip.

Anyway I know he's getting into the whole tea thing because he's started sending me links to tea-related gear sites. These people's teaware looks great. Haven't tried the tea yet but I love the stuff.

Monday, December 06, 2004


Had a strange dream last night in which I was at my next-door neighbor's house making a cup of Folger's brand instant coffee. The spoon is moist so some of the crystals stick to it even after I pour the heaping teaspoon into the mug. Do I lick it clean or put it in the sink? Sure enough I get an email this morning from my old friend Meg informing me that my doppelganger works at the Folger theater in DC. It's like it's all coming together around me but in a language I don't speak. I'm really glad she used the word 'doppelganger' instead of look-alike or long-lost twin. It reminds me that I need to look into the tea-drinking habits of Germans.

Speaking of tea drinking habits, rumor has it that in China, birthplace of tea and producer of some of the most kick-ass black teas you'll ever drink (and everything else in the world), the preferred tea by far is green. Go figure. They export all that black tea to us foreigners (lining the crates that bring us our iPods, mountain bikes and vintage re-issue Star Wars action figures) while they laugh, laugh at us, between fragrant mouthfuls of delicately scented green tea. I've always preferred black teas because they are strong, hearty and basically taste great. I guess a part of me has always lumped green tea in with honey-sweetened cookies and mushroom burgers - fine and all but lacking. That said, I like to read poetry from time to time and I think that qualifies me as a sensitive person and as such I should have a signature, go-to green tea at the ready. I'm trying to zero in on a really good, standard-issue variety that I don't have to think about. Something to keep me alive during the afternoons. I went down to Teaism and picked up some Lung Ching, a.k.a Dragon Well, and it's really tasty. Stop me if you've heard this before but it reminds me a lot of Japanese Sencha (no shit, they're both green teas). It has a grassy, vegetal taste and also a nuttiness I can't describe. Yin and yang. Peas and corn. That's it, peas and corn. OK, I can describe it afterall. Anyway, this is good and everybody should drink it.