Buckle your seatbelts, kids. It’s about to get all cah-razy up in here. Now, you know that I’m a tea person. You know I would rather have tea than coffee… and you may suspect that I would rather have tea than any other beverage, except perhaps wine. (Please don’t make me choose between tea and wine.)
Well, today, I’m laying it all out there. I’m going to ‘fess up to the full extent of my obsession and give you a tour of my tea stash. I had quite a bit to start with and I’ve just recently absorbed my college bestie R’s stash as well, since she had to leave them behind when she shipped out for a new job on the other side of the world. Although I wish she had stayed home and kept them for herself, I was glad to give her teas a loving home and promised to savor them all on her behalf. (Am I a good friend, or what?) I’m actually just going to show you my home stash; we’ll save the work situation for another day. (If you feel the need to pray for my soul, I will absolutely understand.) Are you sitting down? Great. Here we go…
Here is a shot of my tea cupboard as it looks when I perch on the kitchen island and gaze dreamily at it as I sip my tea in the evenings. It’s better entertainment than television, I’m telling you. However, this shot doesn’t really do justice to what’s in here, since some things are hidden from view. So let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
I’ll start with the good stuff. This is my Mariage Freres stash. I firmly believe Mariage Freres makes the best tea in the entire world. I’ve tasted a lot of tea and Mariage Freres just has no equal. About half of this stash (Citron, Etoile de France, and Earl Grey French Blue) came home from Paris in my carry-on bag. I also have The Vert Marco Polo, which R brought me as a gift after her last trip to the City of Light. The others (The Rouge Bourbon, Bolero, and Prince Igor) were adopted from R’s stash. Most of these blends are only available in Paris or Japan (or online, but I hear the shipping costs are insaaaaane), but the Marco Polo and The Rouge Bourbon are available from Dean & Deluca along with some other popular blends, if you want to be bad.
It’s no Mariage Freres, but I do have a special place in my heart for anything from Teaism. Teaism is my favorite DC tea bar – it serves up tasty Asian fusion cuisine and delicious blends of black, green and herbal tea. I go there for lunch at least once or twice a month, and I keep Teaism stashes at home and at the office. My home stash includes Jasmine green tea (in the red fan caddy) World Peace (my absolute favorite herbal blend with cloves and peppermint), Moroccan Mint green tea (R’s stash), Ginger Zing herbal tea (R’s stash again), Quiet Evening (a blend of chamomile and peppermint, very soothing), and “Now & Zen,” Lavender Lemon Mint and Cinnamon Apricot (in the white crane caddy) herbal teas. Good stuff.
As an Anglophile and tea lover, you couldn’t possibly expect that I wouldn’t have a British selection, could you? I’ve got bagged Earl Grey and English Afternoon Tea from Harrods, another tin of loose Ceylon from Harrods, and three miniature tins of various classic English-style blends from Whittard’s, all of which I acquired in London. And of course, a bag of loose Yorkshire Tea, brought back by my sister-in-law from her study abroad. She’s an enabler. Also beautiful. Very, very beautiful.
Here’s some more favorites: Prince Vladimir tea from Kusmi Tea, acquired in New York City with R, Pineapple Coconut Green Tea from Japonica Tafe, a regular seller at my local farmer’s market, and two very special green teas – bird’s tongue Jasmine and a smoky disc – that R picked up on a trip to the Philippines and Hong Kong, which she passed to me before leaving for her job. And also two tins from Teavana, one containing Earl Grey Creme (love that stuff) and one containing Blueberry Bliss rooibos, plus a bag of Teavana Almond Biscotti tea from R’s stash. And finally, that huge silver bag hiding behind the Teavana tins is a pound of Blueberry Vanilla Cream black tea from Culinary Teas, and its little friend is Blue Eyes herbal tea, also from Culinary Teas, which is an online tea purveyor my friend and former coworker M turned me on to.
The Spice and Tea Exchange is a small chain of… duh… spice and tea shops (oh, and they also sell flavored sugar and salts), and they have an outpost in Old Town Alexandria. Whenever I am in Old Town – which is often – I am compelled to stop in and I usually buy something. My absolute favorite is the Coconut Oolong… sometimes I just stick my nose in this tin and smell it, just for fun. Delish. I also have Tropical Green Tea, Uncle Filbert’s Nutty Dessert Tea (soooooo good!), Blood Orange Smoothie Tea (herbal) and Chamomile Citrus Tea (also herbal, obvi). Just writing this is making me crave some Coconut Oolong.
Oh, yeah, and there’s more. Key Lime Rooibos, which I got from a little indie tea shop in Annapolis, MD… Serene Tea by Rishi, a wonderful way to unwind after work… CreativiTea, an herbal blend from R’s former farmers market, also a gift… Tazo mixed-berry white tea… and a couple of wellness teas (Tummy Mint by Celestial Seasonings and Breathe Easy Tea by Traditional Medicinals, great for allergy season)…
So, there you have it. I have no secrets from you anymore – you have seen my tea stash and now know the full extent of my mania. And if you haven’t run screaming in the opposite direction by now… stay tuned, because Part II of this stash tour is coming up, and you’ll be able to see how I got the “crazy tea lady” reputation at work.