January 24, 2014

[friday] column: Not my cup of tea


---- — Not my cup of tea

A friend of mine was sipping tea in his room, nursing a cold. I was exchanging messages with him over Facebook. And he started telling me how great tea was.

I’m no tea snob. One of my coworkers had to tell me the right word for that little sphere of netting that you put loose tea in. “Diffuser” still doesn’t make me think of that. I thought a diffuser was something for perfume. Or maybe they’re the same thing. Perfume and tea are both beloved aromas… This is getting suspicious.

So my friend is complaining melodramatically (and with tongue firmly placed in cheek) that he’ll never meet a woman and have kids because he’s going to die alone in his chair from his cold. But the tea is enough solace, he said.

It was his fourth cup of the day. He said he had nearly a dozen kinds of tea in his cupboard.

Remember, if tea comes up in a conversation, I’m usually wondering this: “Earl Grey? What’s Earl Grey? Some sort of English brand?”

I’m still not convinced it’s a kind of tea. Sounds too much like Captain Crunch. Or Mr. Clean.

So he tells me he has everything from the spicy Chai and spice teas to fruit teas and some black teas. And Earl Grey teas. Of course.

He’s not the only tea snob I know. I have two relatives whose drinking habits, were they not confined to tea, would be deadly. They get tea for Christmas and are over the moon. I’m just thankful I don’t get dried-out plants in my gift boxes. Seriously, who puts dead plants on their wish list?

I told my friend a dozen teas is way too much tea. But he drinks it all, he countered. And you never know, he said, when a guest (wink, wink) would like a cup of tea.

Apparently he thinks tea is as good as a puppy-dog for attracting women.

“I can be all, oh, you like tea, do you? Have a gander at my selection here! And she’ll be all, ‘ohhh, he’s got so much tea! I must have him! He’s a wild man who must be tamed!’ “

I can’t make this stuff up.

— Sarah Einselen

Friday editor / Not a tea snob