“More Tea, Please”

Yes, that is a teacup on Kirstea’s head. She is a tea-loving Shopkins™ Shoppie doll. And yes, her name is Kirstea.

I love hot beverages, even in the summer. Seventy percent of the time, I’ll go for coffee. The other 30 percent is divided between tea (20 percent) and hot chocolate.

The post title is a quote from one of my favorite animated characters of all time—Uncle Iroh from the Avatar: The Last Airbender series. He’s known for his love of tea.

There are certain tea flavors I enjoy. Mostly I love a robust tea. But my tea tastes have changed over the years.

Do you have a favorite tea? If so, let me know through this poll or in a comment below:

When I was a kid, my mother always had a box of Lipton tea around. That was the only tea we had. Good old, reliable Lipton black tea. Back then, I was not a big fan of tea. I only drank it if I had a cold or some other illness. So, Lipton tea was the extent of my tea knowledge at the time.

When I was a freshman in college, I discovered Earl Grey, and drank it like it was water. I can’t help thinking of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation, who loved that tea. But after my freshman year, I dropped tea, and began mainlining coffee until someone introduced me to Constant Comment—another black tea.

I went through a berry tea phase briefly (like Wild Berry Zinger by Celestial Seasonings), before moving to peppermint tea. After that, I fixated on Lemon Zinger by Celestial Seasonings for a time.

While in Shanghai earlier this century (sounds weird to write earlier this century), I discovered green tea. Drank a ton of it, especially at Starbucks, which served green tea lattes long before they debuted in the U.S. But in the last few years, I’ve gravitated toward chai, rooibos teas, and this one, which I’ve written about before.

I started this post thinking I would just talk about tea. But I can’t help equating tea with fantasy books. Many times, when I’ve mentioned that I’m writing or reading a fantasy book, I have received one of two responses:

“I hate fantasy books. Always full of names that are hard to pronounce.”

“Not my cup of tea. They’re too long and boring.”

You see why I equate fantasy books with tea? Now, if you’ve mentioned either of those statements to me, please don’t think I’m putting you down. Many people, even strangers, have told me the same thing. But for me, fantasy books are like tea, because there are so many different varieties—from historical epics to contemporary urban thrillers. Yes, there are books with names that are difficult to pronounce. But Harry Potter, a kid in a fantasy book, has a name that’s easy to pronounce. And Ursula Le Guin has at least two fantasy books under 200 pages in length.

These are older editions. Wizard ends on page 199.

If you don’t like fantasy books, I know I won’t convince you to come to my side of the fence. I’m not here to do that. After all, I don’t like licorice, and wouldn’t want anyone to try to sway me to like it. Instead, I’ll continue to enjoy the rich flavors of the fantasy books that come my way.

A good article on the most popular tea flavors is here.

Uncle Iroh from medievalotakuwordpress.com. Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard from startrek.com. Bigelow Constant Comment tea from Wikipedia. Lemon Zinger from the Celestial Seasonings website. Lipton tea from chromedelivery.com. Kirstea Shopkins™ Shoppie doll and book covers photos by L. Marie.

41 thoughts on ““More Tea, Please”

  1. I am especially obsessed with tea. I do enjoy a nice coffee now and again, but tea is second only to oxygen in importance to me. I see ‘The Wizard of Earthsea’, there – that brings back horrific memories from an English Literature class at school when this was one of the set texts. It’s an awful book. Put me off fantasy for life.

    • Aww. I’m sorry about that! Some books are scarring. I feel that way about some poems like “Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798.” (Now that is a mouthful!) Such a difficult, soul-sucking class. I can’t even look at that poem without shuddering.

  2. As you know, I love tea, L. Marie. Yerba Mate is my go to beverage while writing. For whatever reason, I feel it gets my creative juices flowing. I’m also a coffee lover, but like you, I don’t like licorice.

  3. Impressive segue from tea to fantasy. I’ve heard that name complaint a lot. Oddest time I heard it was from a Star Wars fan complaining about all the z’s and k’s in fantasy names. As far as tea goes, my family has always had a big collection that gets ignored. I never understood why we had so many when people kept going for lemon or Constant Commons. My favorite flavors tend to be cherry, blueberry, and, if I can find it, strawberry. Just found a few dessert ones though. In Florida, I would get a big jug with a straw and filled it with ice, water, and 3-4 teabags. Cheap iced tea for when I was working.

    • They definitely make great teas. My sister-in-law likes the berry flavors. My nephew makes a great homemade ginger tea. Very spicy!

      I have to laugh at that comment about z’s and k’s since yes, there are names like Drizzt Do’Urden, Ahsoka, Anakin and Luke Skywalker. But there are so many sci-fi and fantasy books with character names that don’t rely heavily on hard consonants and sibilants. 🙂

      • Never got into ginger, but I tend to reserve that for a stomach settler. Means I’m already feeling gross when I drink it.

        I think Chewbacca’s home planet has a bunch of ‘y’s in there. I think people focus more on the odd names and think those are the norm. Yet, you look at LOTR that had Sam, Merry, and Pippin.

      • Kashyyyk? Yes.
        I take my naming inspiration from LoTR. I love that many of the characters go by the shortened forms of their names (like Merry and Pippin).

      • I also look at baby name sources, especially those that provide the meanings of the names. If they fit the character, I’ll choose them.

  4. I LOVE Constant Comment – especially as iced tea in the summer. I went through an Earl Grey phase too, but now it seems to perfume-y. My formerly-British neighbor introduced me to PG tips, so that’s my black tea of choice. But in the evenings, it’s always chamomile or peppermint. Also, lately, I discovered tumeric tea, (https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018548-turmeric-tea) which feels sort of magical to me. Perfect with a rich fantasy book 😉

    • That tea sounds great, Laura! Now I’m thinking of 1001 Arabian Nights. I can imagine having a cup of that tea and reading those stories.

      Earl Grey seems perfume-y to me too now. 🙂

  5. Your journey through tea and towards coffee is reminicent of my own…only ditch the Earl Grey for a strong cuppa Darjeeling and add anything Celestial seasonings (which Mo mixed personally for anyone who came into the co-op before his ‘business’ went big – yep, I’m that old!).
    I like your segue into your love of fantasy via the tea! Never thought of that genre with a range of flavors before.

    • I’m definitely old, Laura. What a great story. I love Celestial Seasonings teas, so I’m glad his business was so successful.

      Yes, there are so many different types of fantasy books. Police procedurals, re-envisioned history (Napoleonic era complete with dragons)–you name it!

  6. I am not personally a tea ‘ s fan but Chamomilla is the best for me ;
    Lipton is known in France with the name ” Lipton of London ” . Is the origin American of English ?
    Love ❤

  7. I love my morning tea ~ I rotate between the Maple Apple Cider (thanks to YOU!), Lemon-Ginger, and Peach-Mango, using one flavored tea bag and one good old Lipton tea bag for the pot.

    As a kid, Constant Comment was my FAVE!

    • I just had my last cup of maple apple cider. I miss it already. I need to restock my tea supply. All I have left is a box of chai. I’m about to have a cup soon. 🙂

  8. Since I mostly grudgingly drink my daily quota of water, tea- fruit infusions and herbal teas, are welcome distractions. Like you, I grew up with Lipton, but unlike you I haven’t done much experimenting.

    I tend to get lost while reading fantasy novels, so I usually don’t. Novels under 200 pages seem like a good way to try them out again.

  9. Yeesh, licorice… the red stuff is okay, but the black stuff… just can’t stomach it. There’s a mom-and-pop ice cream shop near us that makes black licorice ice cream and I have to leave the store if they’re making it!

    • I don’t mind red licorice. But yeah, black licorice–ugh! I can’t imagine eating black licorice ice cream! People who love it probably line up for it!

  10. I voted for English Breakfast, but in fact the only kind of tea I drink is called Scottish Blend, and claims to have been specially blended to suit the very soft sometimes peaty water we have here (the same water that makes Scottish whisky so famous). It may just be clever marketing (I suspect it is!) but it’s my favourite tea anyway! As for fantasy, well, in general that’s not my cup of tea, but there are exceptions to every rule… 🙂

    • I checked Amazon. Several Scottish blend breakfast teas are available on Amazon. You make me want to try it! My tea supply is horribly low right now. I need more!

  11. What a fun journey from coffee to tea, and one which resembles my own.
    These days, I start with English Breakfast Tea. I’ve all kinds but truly enjoy Trader Joe’s English Breakfast each and every morning. I’ve made it for visitors, who wonder aloud at what brand it is. I do, as you know, enjoy other teas from Trader Joe’s.
    Come mid-afternoon, I have a cup of Harney & Sons Paris Tea. Just one cup, with honey.
    I do love a good cup of coffee as well (somewhere in between Ireland and Paris 🙂 )
    I make sun tea come summertime with ginger peach tea.
    Thanks, L. Marie, for this lovely fantasy tea party.

    • I’m glad you made it to the tea party, Penny. In the fall Trader Joe has a lovely spicy tea that I usually get.

      I love Harney & Sons’s chocolate mint tea. So delicious!

      My nephew makes a great ginger tea from scratch. Very spicy though.

  12. I’m a coffee person, but when traveling, I’ve noticed that there are coffee countries and tea countries. In Chile in 1990 I couldn’t find a decent cup of coffee. It’s a tea country. My husband is a tea person and he was happy. Portugal is a coffee country, and I have no problem finding my favorite warm beverage, but he’s often out of luck.

    • You’re right, Lyn. Certain places are great for coffee, others for tea. I start the day off with coffee. But if I’m in a different country, I’ll go with tea.

  13. I drink plenty of coffee but I’m not really a coffee person. It’s that coffee is more convenient to make, especially with a Keurig. But I have discovered Keurig pods for Earl Grey tea so I hope to start weaning myself away from coffee. My stomach has a low tolerance for coffee (more than one large cup is testing the fates), and I prefer my coffee sweet and creamy (calories!). With Earl Grey, I can get by with half the sugar and milk and still be a happy camper 🙂 I also love Good Earth’s Sweet & Spicy tea which comes in both caffeinated and decaffeinated and does not need any additives such as milk and sugar (so, 0 calories). Many years ago, when I worked in Berkeley, CA, Good Earth had restaurant a few blocks from my office. I would often show up there promptly at 9 AM when they opened their doors to get a large hot tea. It was and still is my comfort drink.

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