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. :)
I thought it would never happen to me, but it has. I no longer can grin and bear a tepid cup of water with a Lipton or cut-rate tea bag plunked in. I politely decline, but my hosts know it is because I don’t deem their offering worthy. This troubles me because I’m normally one to make the sacrifice to not hurt others feelings, but I have just reached a point where I want a good cup of tea or none at all. If offered some new brand or variant I will generally give it a shot to say I have tried it, even if I know it is going to be bad, so I’m not totally taken by the dark side… yet.
It’s really a tough spot to be in at times and I’ve not yet figured out a way to handle it better. How do you handle this situation?
Let me start by saying that I don’t put much stock in the myriad health benefits/miracles made about tea, and similarly I disregard “studies” like this one released today on ABC’s site about a tea/throat cancer link: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/CancerPreventionAndTreatment/story?id=7182731&page=1
I will never understand why folks need to believe a simple drink will somehow cure everything from obesity to bad skin to lack of friends. I drink liters of green and oolong tea every day and I still get sick throughout the year, I’m still a bit overweight, I’m beginning to bald, break out at times… I do have some good friends though. So there’s that. I always say that if all the tea I drink keeps me alive one extra day, then that is one more cup I get to drink. Nothing more, nothing less. However, I don’t blindly ignore the fact that I’ve probably ingested my share of toxic chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, etc. as I steep and eek out every last drop from my leaf each day. Everything is always in balance. Yin and Yang.
Tea (not to mention tons of other hot beverages) has been drunk in many degrees of temperature for millenia, and to believe that just now it can somehow be definitively linked to throat cancer is laughable at best. It couldn’t be the increase in air pollution and highly evolved mutant sicknesses. It couldn’t be the fact that we’ve been unknowing guinea pigs for so many untested and unregulated “advances” in the name of a quicker buck like genetically modified foods, chemical additives, or a whole host of other lovely things. It must be hot tea. That’s it. Surely.