There's a question that I often ponder, a curiosity of mine, if you will. It's nothing too fancy, nor is it anything too elaborate. Rather, it's completely subjective, depending on each individual person and perhaps that's why it holds my interest all the same.
Now, you might be wondering... what could it be?
If so, not to worry, I don't intend to keep it a secret!
That question is: What was your first experience with tea?
Did it peak your interest from the get go? Was it the delightful and dainty teacups that perchance managed to catch your eye?
Or, on the other hand, maybe you might have had a notion similar to "Tea? Isn't that just some leaves brewed in water? What's so tasty about it?", and labelled it as something that was way too overrated until you actually tried it.
Perhaps you first sampled it with friends and/or family and the companionship amplified that lovely recollection which still makes you smile to this day, even after you've added subsequent memories to that list.
Even in the case that it's not to your personal liking, well, there's nothing wrong about that either.
To each their own.
In the case of this writer, the first time I tried tea, I thought it was just too much like water. This could have been due to many reasons such as not brewing the tea leaves long enough leading to a diminished essence or leaving out the milk and sugar. Whatever the cause, it wasn't actually until I tried masala chai that I changed my overall outlook on the wonders of tea.
There was just something about the rich aroma of spices melding into milk and sugar that satisfied my sweet tooth. After all, a good spoonful of sugar doesn’t only help the medicine go down. In my case it really hit the spot, so to speak, and initially helped the tea go down well too!
Thereafter, all it took was researching the various types of teas some more and discovering all the possible health benefits to win me over.
Speaking of health benefits, did you know that many teas contain flavonoids, a group of polyphenol compounds and unique antioxidants, that may assist against free radicals?
These free radicals constitute of any molecular species - atom, molecule or ion - containing an unpaired valence electron and contribute to conditions like cancer in the human body. Yikes!
Luckily, the way antioxidants work is that they are able to donate electrons to those pesky free radicals and help stop the damage to the cells in our body.
More research is required in terms of definitive health benefits linked to antioxidants found in tea which are generally present in higher concentrations in the less processed green and white teas.
Regardless, I enjoy a good cup of tea, especially with a hint of honey.
Although I say that now, that didn't mean it was easy (particularly at the start). In fact, it took many, many tries before I grew accustomed to the different flavours without the milk and sugar. This was after learning about the possibility that bottled and sweetened teas usually contain less polyphenols than a brewed cup.
While I am still partial to masala chai, I am also on the lookout for the next tea that will have an impact on me.
It's an exciting thought, being unaware of when that next awesome tea will show up! It might be tomorrow, or next week, or maybe even a few months down the road.
There's no hurry though, when the story of tea itself is one that spans centuries. From its humble origin as a medicinal drink in the Asian continent to a special commodity with a heavy tax imposed on it, all the way to its current status as a commonplace beverage suitable for any season.
Until that day arrives, and while the summer is still plentiful, I'll be sipping a nice cup of tea under this gorgeous clear blue sky:
A cool iced tea in the summer, fresh from the fridge, is just as yummy as a steaming cup in the chilly winter months!
Now onto you, the reader! What did your first adventure with the wonders of tea entail? Do you have a favourite type? If you feel like sharing, we'd love to hear all about it!
Until next time, and we hope you have a lovely week!
*Images Credit: Dunbar Greetings