(photo: a new morning-a new tea drinker)
Someone's been interacting with me on twitter or even in the real world. They've politely tolerated my blathering on about tea. How no matter what the topic of conversation is that it somehow veers back to tea drinking.
Finally, the question comes up, 'Ok, enough already. Go ahead and tell me. What tea should I start with?''
What an exciting prospect, but then I freeze up. Hm? What next?
Well, the first thing I ask is, 'How do you take your coffee?' Cream or milk? Sugar or not? What on earth does that tell me? Well, if you drink black coffee, then a delicate subtle tea just won't do. Not at all.
The next question, 'Do you like spicy foods?' does the same thing.
I used to think that a decent Earl Grey was a nice gateway tea. That one might like the Bergamot oil early on and over time want to taste more of the tea and less of the flavouring. I'm not sure if I'd always go that direction anymore. If someone's already enjoying Earl Grey then I won't discourage it, but I'm not so thrilled about pushing someone in that direction. Not when there's so much delicious tea out there.
If someone tends to eat spicier food, I think I'd recommend a malty Assam. If not, a subtle Ceylon. Yes, ok. But which one?
Go to your local tea seller and ask what sorts of Assam they have. Or what about their selection of Ceylon?
Ask to smell the tea leaves. Any decent tea seller will be thrilled that you're interested. Don't be shy asking how much a tea costs and definitely don't assume that a higher price means better tea. It simply doesn't.
I know this answer is very simple. Maybe too simple. But if you're new to tea (or good tea), you'll likely appreciate the simplest of answers. Please let me know how it goes.
What about you other tea obsessives? How do you answer the question posed above? Someone shows even a hint of curiosity about trying decent tea. Which direction do you send them?