Air travel and tea

I made sure to bring some tea bags filled with Shui Xian along during my travels so that on the early morning flights I could at least have a decent cup, well as decent as you can expect from slightly hot water and a styrofoam cup. I had thought about bringing a green since I knew the water wouldn’t be very hot but I thought that since the taste buds change during flights it might be too subtle to enjoy. So I was totally surprised when even the Shui Xian seemed almost flavorless and very cardboard-like. I then even steeped it to a mid-high strength and it changed virtually nothing. I was completely surprised that flavor would be that heavily affected. I brewed up one of the spares once I got home just to make sure it wasn’t the unbleached teabag I had used or that the tea had gone stale, and with just hot water from a water cooler and a disposable cardboard cup at work it tasted perfectly normal. In the air, my mind knew what I should be tasting but it just was not there to the senses. It was like being taste-blind. A truly strange experience. Now I wonder what that airline food actually tastes like on the ground… I’m still guessing it doesn’t improve as much as the Shui Xian. :)

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One Response to Air travel and tea

  1. Jason Witt says:

    This is an interesting experiment. I’ve never before heard anyone talk about bringing their own tea to a flight and being disappointed by how drastic a change they found in it. It’s good to know. But don’t get discouraged. When the airlines serve tea of their own, there’s a better change they’ll know what tastes at least acceptable at high altitude and with their water. That is, perhaps, except in the cheapest class.

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