When I was growing up, a familiar and comforting smell was the strong scent of French roast coffee wafting through the house as my dad brewed his standard two cups of coffee to start the day. Because I always loved the smell and would tell my dad how good it was, he would smile proudly and say that one day, I’d become just like him and be a coffee drinker.
Well, I quashed that pretty quickly when I got to college and decided I didn’t really care for coffee unless it was the occasional latte or cappuccino. What I really learned to love, and I’m not sure where it started, was tea, and tea of all kinds. And it became a bit of an obsession. I was having tea gifted to me from places like China, Taiwan, and Japan. Then, i started traveling and buying tea on my own. The collection of Mariage Freres tea I have from France has gotten a little absurd, and Chris added to that collection today by bringing home two more varieties from his Paris work trip. I picked up some very grassy senchas in Japan. And my mother-in-law lovingly brings me back my favorite standard English Breakfast tea from Australia because Dilmah, a Sri Lankan tea company, doesn’t distribute to the U.S. It’s the smoothest English tea I’ve had, especially with some milk.
A friend of mine told me he wanted to get into tea, and asked me what brands I’d recommend. I hesitated for a second and realized other than Ten Ren, which sells good Taiwanese tea in the U.S… there were no brands I’d readily recommend to him that are widely available here because most of the brands I drink and own are from travels abroad. I guess there are a few matchas, and you’re sometimes able to find Mariage Freres in tins at Dean and Deluca, but I’ve heard from acquaintances that the tea from these tins can taste stale.
I guess I’m the uppity one now.