Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Tea Indoctrination

A number of weeks ago, I asked someone I *know* at twitter if she was drinking tea, and she meekly answered that she didn't like tea. Jokingly, she wondered if I'd have nothing more to do with her. Instead I began to kid her about bringing her over to the leaf-side.

It really was all in good fun. It wasn't supposed to go anywhere from there. But I continued to send her queries about the tea indoctrination that was slowly but surely taking place. But again-unbeknownst to me. One day, out of the blue, she said, 'Ok, and I'm not promising anything, but what would I start with?'

Now I was flummoxed. Uh? I don't know. This was a new prospect. But I liked it. The longer I thought about it, I liked it more and more.

I've said it again and again here: I want to help people get into tea. The history and the culture of tea interests me, but the thought that I could actually help people into this little corner of the tea world really intrigues me. So I had to ponder this one a few moments.

And what did I answer? First I asked more questions. I realised I had no idea what her tastes were, so I asked if she preferred white or red wine. How did she take her coffee? Spicy food?

And with all of that, I made a horrible suggestion. Earl Grey. What was I thinking? Actually, I was thinking finding some Earl Grey bags would be about the easiest thing for her to locate. I got deeper into tea by starting with Earl Grey. Why not? Well, because it's not a good beginning. She really didn't like it. At all.

I'd also recommended Oolong, but my impression was that there weren't any tea shops nearby. Before I recommended she buy tea over the net, I offered to send her some. Let me be clear, I have no intention of making a habit of this. The prospect of helping someone into tea was too enticing to let it pass by. But in the future, I believe I'll have some alternative sources on offer.

Not that I'm in any way regretful about what happened next. But I'm going to let her tell you that story. Exciting, eh?

In the next several days, you'll be able to read about her impressions of the teas I thought she'd like. She's agreed to be a guest blogger here, and has been diligently keeping notes throughout the whole process. What a story.

Stay tuned. I think you'll like this one.


  1. I used to think I didn't like tea. I would try it and put honey in it (because that's what my wife used to do) and never liked it and would throw it away. Then one time I tried it without the honey, and you know what? It turned out I just didn't like tea with honey in it.

  2. Love that Dennis. I know exactly what you mean.

  3. I do think that you need to ask someone question about what kinds of drinks / foods / flavors they like, before making a good recommendation.

    But I don't think there's anything wrong with Earl Grey as a first suggestion. Many people love Earl Grey...it's a widespread favorite. It's not a pure tea but it has a taste that a lot of people like, and in contrast to some flavored teas, it usually has a strong tea presence as well.