Coffee is not my cup of tea

tea leaves
tea loves
loves tea
lives tea
leaves tea?
~Uniek Swain

In my previous post, I have already given the fact that I am a tea person. In this country, drinking tea is not that popular as to taking your regular Joe. There are so many people who love coffee, but thankfully, I am not one of them.

Even when people my age started to take caffeine during high school, I did not follow the trend. I won’t be a hypocrite to say that I haven’t tried coffee before, I did, but just didn’t like it. I have tasted different kinds of coffee already – black, decaf, etc., but nothing suited my fancy. My taste buds never agreed to coffee. So aside from drinking milk, which my friends teased me of being a baby, I only take fruit shakes before.

The Awakening

Then I visited Japan. The land of the rising sun is popular for its traditional tea ceremony. Of course as a foreigner, it is a must-try.

One time, while I was with my homestay family, we went to this traditional tea house. I was wearing kimono as we were to join the festivities of Otabi Matsuri later. Inside the tea house, we were served with matcha green tea and sweets. Together with my mom and sister, Nao, (Father was the designated photographer) we participated in this old ceremony of serving and drinking tea.

don’t mind the AH1N1 mask!

For a first-timer of matcha green tea, I admit that I didn’t like it.  I wasn’t prepared for the oh so bitter taste of the drink.  Even though the sweetness of mochi somehow disguised the taste of the tea, it didn’t help much. Nonetheless, I smiled to my Japanese family and said, “That was great!

When I returned to my country, I tried to steer clear from green tea because of that experience. It wasn’t really that bad; just pure green that would make your tongue colored after drinking, and of course, taste bitter. Prior to that experience, I have tried tea (from the bag) before, but deemed it not suitable for me. However, nothing compared to the “almost-repulsive” experience I had in Japan.

But I guess the Filipino saying about one must not close his doors and express final sentiment on a matter is indeed true. After some time, I learned to drink tea. And how I loved it!

I couldn’t actually remember the first time I took a tea after in Nihon. I think I started with those regular “brown” teas from Lipton and from there my passion for the leaves grew. I began trying different brands and flavors, comparing the strengths and weaknesses of the teas. If there were coffeeholics, then some called me a teaholic.

I would like to say that drinking tea is an acquired taste. Based from what I have written above, I didn’t like it at first but after few more tries one can get the hang of it and maybe even get addicted to it. When my friends want to get their caffeine boost of the day, of course we’ll go to a nearby coffee shop. As I don’t drink coffee, tea became my reliable friend during those times. Instead of being peer-pressured to drink coffee, I found a convenient and favorite drink to order.

Sadly, only few people share my growing love for tea so there’s limited choices of tea houses to go to if one wants a good cup here in the Philippines. Sure, we can go to brands like Starbucks and CBTL, but the teas offered there are limited compared to coffee. Of course.

So if I’m not in a meeting or out in a mall shopping, I prefer drinking my own choice of tea.

isn’t my mug just cute? 🙂

My favorite is pure green tea (Ha! Yeah, the turn of events), but sometimes I try to taste something else for variety. Currently, I love Twinning’s Pure Green Tea. In fact, just a month ago, I asked Dad to buy Twinning’s tea from Dubai for me. Along with Earl Grey Green Tea and English Breakfast, he bought 100 bags of Pure Green [not in the picture]. Yay!

Isn’t that lovely? It’s too many for me to consume only at home, so I bring some bags to my office, too. Almost everyday I sip the delicious taste of my drink and I even influenced some of my colleagues to convert to tea! Aha, vote me for president! Kidding aside, I was glad to see that some of my previous coffee drinker friends are now trying to take a new drink which has 50% less caffeine to offer.

Then recently, just last week, a Korean friend gave me a present from Korea. He took his Chuseok vacation and when he came back, he gave this wonderful gift to me!

현미 녹차 (Hyeonmi nukcha)

also know as Japanese Genmaicha tea

It is a Korean green tea mixed with brown rice. It’s not that strong as other Western teas and does not need, I think, of a “tea tongue”. In fact, it tastes similar to corn or barley tea; it’s almost water. It also reminds me of Solomon’s seal tea – just a light drink which I can take for maybe five times a day. Haha!

I didn’t expect that I would love tea this much though I am grateful that I do. I won’t forget that fateful day when I first tasted the rich and strong blend of green tea.

Have you tried drinking tea? Did you like it? What’s your favorite brand and flavor?

17 thoughts on “Coffee is not my cup of tea

  1. I love coffee… and i’m beginning to appreciate tea recently… 🙂
    i’ve tasted different dilmah teas and i loved them all… especially with a hint of honey… :))
    i’ll be working at chatime soon… you should visit one of our branches… i’m sure you’ll love it…! 😀

    1. Oh, a convert! 😀 try to taste more kinds of tea, Ardie. I’m happy to know you’ll start working soon. Is it the training you were talking about? I haven’t tried chatime, but hope to like it. I tried the raspberry milk tea in bubbatea and it was like cough syrup. Haha!

  2. You know already that we share a love of tea……I also have more than one tea pot, (my best china one, my every day one, a gift set one that sits next to Memoirs of a Geisha on my bookshelf, and a cast iron Japanese one) and some of my friends think it strange that I insist on a different cup/mug for different types of tea……I may be developing a bit of an obsession!! I’m very lucky that here in Brisbane there are many specialty tea shops that stock a vast variety of green, black and herb blends. My favourites are Arctic Fire, St Petersburgs Blend, and French Earl Grey. I think tea tasting is a bit like wine tasting and I never get sick of trying new ones 🙂

    1. Oho, how I envy you with those tea pots! I wish I can also have authentic Chinese for my tea drinking – reminds me to add that to my to-buy list when I visit the country. You are lucky to be in such a place; it must be heaven for tea drinkers! I haven’t tried your favorites though I think I’d like to taste French Earl Grey.

      And oh yeah, it’s like wine tasting!

      1. I’m not a big fan of Earl Grey itself but French Earl Grey is a little lighter on the palate 🙂 Have you tried ordering online? T2 has stores in Australia and does ship internationally from about $15 (Australian dollars) here’s their website lots of yummy varieties, teapots and all tea related information!

        1. I agree. Earl Grey is a bit strong for me, a green tea drinker. I’d love to try that French Earl Grey. Thank you for sharing this tea website. I’ll look into it and hopefully find something awesome to purchase. However, I have a surplus of tea so I think I’d consume more first. 🙂

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