Saturday, December 31, 2011

Not-So-Good Tea Pairings

I have read many books and blogs about pairing tea with other things to make a great combo – tea and chocolate, tea and almonds, tea and oatmeal, etc. However, what about things that should be avoided while drinking tea? Here is my mental list of not-so-good tea pairings that I have added to over the years (side note – in all combinations the teas were unflavored and consumed while hot):

Black Tea with Cheetos Puffs – While at work one day, I wrestled the vending machine for some cheesy poofs as a mid-morning snack. I tried washing it down with the black tea that I had brought with me to work that morning which resulted in a smoked fake-cheese aftertaste. I was dumb enough to try the same thing with green tea at a different point in time to discover that was even worse. I like cheesy poofs, okay?

Green Tea with Grapefruit – After eating a grapefruit I felt like I wanted to keep this “health food” trend going so I brewed up some green tea only to find the combination was an unpleasant grassy, acidic, bitter taste. However, black tea with grapefruit isn’t bad.

Green Tea with Original Flavor Pringles – I love them both separately, but together the salty/grassy mixture is just… weird.

Green Tea and Peanut Butter – I thought this combination was going to be okay since tea and nutty flavors go well together (I love Dragon Well!). I didn’t find the combo all too pleasant when I tried pairing green tea with peanut butter on toast. Black tea might not be so bad, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Green Tea and Nachos – Yeah… um… no. Just… no.

White Tea and Chicken Alfredo Pasta – I don’t know what I was thinking. I had finished making a cup of white tea at the same time the fiancée had finished dinner, so I brought the cup with me to the table - bad idea. I thought it would be fine considering sometimes pasta Alfredo contains broccoli (which is similar to the vegetal flavor of some white teas). Nope. The combination of white tea and Alfredo sauce doesn’t work for me.

That is all that I can think of at the moment. I am sure I will be adding to this list again soon. I think it is safe to say that I do not like the combo of tea and cheese flavors. However, I am infatuated with both separately.

Do you have any not-so-good pairings that you would like to warn about?

Oolongs and Pu Erhs will probably never make this list because I usually save those to drink only when I have time to dedicate to Gong Fu Cha. Thus, I concentrate on the tea alone and do not pair it with anything else.

Image Reference Links: Cheetos Puffs, Nachos

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The First Casualty

After four years of studying, writing about and drinking tea, the unthinkable happened… for the first time I broke a piece of my teaware.


I feel ashamed and remorseful. It was eight o’clock on Christmas morning and I wanted to make some tea before family arrived at my place to feast and open gifts. In a rush, I grabbed my tea tray with my Tsuki teapot and Holiday mug and headed to the sink to clean them before preparing the tea. After thoroughly rinsing the teapot and giving it one last shake to remove the excess water… it happened. The teapot slipped out of my wet hands and fell into the sink. That is when I heard the ominous sound. I cursed and looked down to confirm my suspicions… yes, what was once an elegant piece of teaware was now two incomplete pieces. My heart broke equally as much.

Ok, so, the break isn’t THAT bad. It is just the handle of the teapot in which a trip to the craft store for the right epoxy will hopefully remedy my clumsiness. At the moment, I am still using the teapot by wrapping a tea towel around it to pick it up and pour.

I would hate to stop using this teapot just because the handle is missing. First of all, I use gaiwans all the time and they don’t even have handles. Second, this teapot is the perfect one cup size, especially for my small Holiday mug. Finally, I just simply like this teapot too much to give up on it even with it now having a minor inconvenience.

So why am I making such a big deal about this injured teapot? The reason is that I look at this as a reminder to slow down. I haven’t even had the time to write about tea in the last few months. Why? Oh, where is my list of excuses? I know it is around here somewhere. I have changed my list of priorities and in doing so I have become rushed, clumsy, lazy, and stressed in other aspects of my life, not just with tea.

This episode is a reminder to get myself back on track with what I do best; developing plans, lists, and structures to organize and prioritize my time so that I am not rushed/stressed and that I do not overlook the details.

I want to get back to thinking and writing about tea on a regular basis. I also have a wedding to plan and implement by the end of September (tea themed, of course!). These are the two major goals on the list for 2012. I just hope that there are no more casualties.