Ya-Ya's Tea Board

Ya-Ya's Tea Blog

Everyday tea

 [ IMAGE Comfort tea ] When I woke up this morning, I was greeted by a beautiful white blanket of snow covering our garden. It is always amazing to me, how much something as simple as snow can transform our familiar surroundings into something so peaceful and wondrous.

After returning from a beautiful, but ultimately cold and rather wet walk with the dog, I was really looking forward to a hot cup of tea. Nothing fancy, just something comforting to curl up with.
While enjoying a hot, soothing cup of Yunnan Black Gold, I contemplated the nature of one of the most satisfying drinks I know: everyday tea.

First, let me define what I mean with the notion of an everyday tea: a tea we would (and often do) drink every day; a tea that comforts us; a tea that – although relatively simple – is something to look forward to each day.

By definition, an everyday tea shouldn’t be an extremely rare or special tea – rather something uncomplicated and easy to enjoy.

4 requirements for an everyday tea
In my opinion, there are a few core criteria for a tea to qualify as everyday tea.

  1. The tea should be affordable for daily consumption. Obviously, the tolerable price is dependent on our financial situation. But I don’t rate this point too important in the overall scheme of things, so price should not be the main factor.
  2. The tea should have a special meaning to us. This meaning usually works on an emotional level and is one of the most important points in choosing our everyday tea. Does this tea make me feel good, does it help to calm my mind (or sharpen my concentration), is it something I’m looking forward to having? I think, these questions are the kind of questions we should ask ourselves.
  3. The tea should be nourishing. This is a point people might disagree about, but to me, an everyday tea should nurture your body and soul. This is ultimately the reason why I usually choose a more full-bodied tea (like Assam or Chinese black teas or a decent Japanese Sencha green tea) over lighter teas.
  4. The tea should be easy to prepare and fit our consumption habits. Another important point, since to drink a tea everyday, most people aren’t prepared to go out of their way to brew that tea. Gongfu requires time and practice and isn’t suitable for everybody all the time. Your daily tea should be easy enough to make so you don’t have to convince yourself to go through a major effort to get to the cup you are longing for.

One size doesn’t fit all
Although I believe, that all the reasons mentioned above are important in the choice for an everyday tea, they will mean different things to different people. Nourishing most likely has a different meaning for me than for you. And what I regard as being affordable doesn’t necessarily translate well to a student’s budget.
To many people, tea bags are the everyday tea of choice. The perceived ease of preparation (point 4 above) and the generally low price (point 1) seem too often to be the only factors taken into consideration. But stop for a moment and think about the other 2 points I made above. Does your bagged tea fulfill these criteria?

Different people have different ideas about everyday tea
MarshalN just wrote about his return to more “pedestrian” (read: common) teas on his marvelous tea blog. In his case, that means a re-focus from very high-end oolong teas to more basic level pu-erhs that offer him a “certain steadiness and reliability”.
A friend of mine just told me how much she enjoyed our Jade Green Tea. It is her everyday tea and she enjoys it for various reasons, one of them being something that I hadn’t thought about before. She told me she loved it for being such a light oolong and that it didn’t matter if she forgot about the cup brewing on her desk at work – the tea would still be enjoyable and never turned too bitter.
For me personally, hardly a day goes by without me drinking at least one pot of Darjeeling tea. It is a habit I’ve had for a very long time and this pot is like a good friend that I meet up with every day. These teas have the ability to make me feel at home, no matter where I am. That’s why I usually take it with me whenever I leave home for an extended period of time. But as I mentioned above, if I think of an everyday tea, other teas that come to mind tend to be fuller, richer teas.

Of course, you can have more than just one everyday tea (I do). But these teas are usually the first choice we think of when contemplating the next cup…

What’s your everyday tea and how do you go about choosing it? We’d love to hear from you, so leave us a comment.

[techtags: tea, habit, tea drinking, oolong, everyday tea]

6 Responses to Everyday tea »»


Comments

  1. Comment by Garrett | 2008/08/09 at 17:09:13

    I have different everyday teas for different seasons and different times of day. During this summer, I’ve had Pi Lo Chun for the morning, followed by either a simple Jasmine tea, or straight Gunpowder. I’ve also been keen on a simple and inexpensive TGY. In the winter I’m particularly fond of Golden Yunnan type teas and Lapsong Souchong. Each of these teas have the perfect flavor to be engaging but not distracting, for activities like reading or studying, both of which make up most of my day.

  2. Jo
    Comment by Jo | 2008/08/09 at 21:57:09

    Hi Garrett,
    I wholeheartedly agree with you about having different teas that fit the seasons. Bi Luo Chun, Jasmine & Tie Guan Yin seem like good choices for summer (although TGY can be a very nourishing, rather cold season tea), while the Yunnan’s are definitely winter teas (that’s why I drank one this morning).

    “Engaging but not distracting” – that’s exactly what I wanted to express with this article in a nutshell. It seems like I’ll have a long way to go to become as efficient with my prose as you are…

  3. Comment by Bamboo Forest | 2008/08/12 at 09:45:20

    Great article Jo. Wonderful way to intertwine tea and philosophy. I can’t say I see that on many tea blogs, at least the few I’ve frequented.

    My every day tea? I suppose sencha would fit that bill. But I also love a good darjeeling too. Or an assam, with traditional taste.

    Another factor about any every day tea, is that it’s nice to truly enjoy a tea – that you know isn’t breaking the bank. There is a simplistic and natural satisfaction in that.

  4. Jo
    Comment by Jo | 2008/08/12 at 21:02:28

    @Bamboo:
    Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate your praise especially since I consider you an interesting writer.
    I used to regard sencha as my everyday tea, but drink it only occasionally at the moment (if I do, I savour it).

  5. Comment by Melissa | 2008/08/22 at 06:54:40

    I loved this post and am still on my quest to find my everyday tea. It’ll definitely be an Earl Grey, but I have so many favorites, it’s hard to choose which brand I love best.

  6. Jo
    Comment by Jo | 2008/08/22 at 07:31:32

    @Melissa:
    Everyday tea isn’t really a fixed tea, but rather something that changes over time. In your case, it probably changes even more often (looking at brands, that is). But it sounds to me you’ve found your love in Earl Grey…


Leave a Reply »»