I want to take this journey back to the 90’s and my childhood. My love of tea started here. Noon panir and chayee shirin for breakfast - Persian bread and cheese with sweet tea. I’ve always been anti tea bag, my dad used to tell me that tea bags were the dregs of tea and that loose leaf was the only way to go!
We generally drank different black teas, mostly ceylon. The tea that strikes such fond memories and the one I still drink to this day is a loose leaf ceylon that is tossed with bergamot oil. While many people call this “earl grey” I guarantee you it’s a bit different. I’ve also had many versions of ceylon that are essentially blends. Some people put things like rose buds, cardamom and even saffron in their tea!
While these were the only things that I drank, I thought I was a tea expert. In reality I actually only knew about black tea and really, the black tea that I drank.
As I grew older, tea became more routine. As a kid, I drank it often but it wasn’t something I craved. High school definitely set off something in me. I drank tea like it was my job. It was a delicious thing in my daily routine and also something that I got to share with my mom and dad.
My parents divorced when I was younger and in High School I spent more time at my mom’s house. We drank tea together a lot. Once I started to make the tea “right” it became my job. She lovingly referred to me as kolfateh chayee - tea butler. The nickname became a family wide joke that is still used. My mom was especially sad when I moved out because she was losing her kolfateh chayee. My younger siblings tea making skills are not up to snuff !
Fast forward to college, in my dorm room you could always find grits, fruity pebbles, my electric tea kettle, mug, ceylon and a tea infuser. I drank tea all day and night. It was always something I was known for. I was a “tea” person as opposed to coffee like most everyone else. To me, tea was just a normal part of my routine. Still, I only drank my ceylon and railed against green teas because they were bitter. In reality, I just didn’t know how to brew it.
I always had a passion to start my own blog and shop but didn’t know what to do. I have so many passions but I always thought that nobody would care what I would have to say or buy what I create. After college and starting my current job (several years ago), I felt stuck. While I liked my job generally, I didn’t have the artistic creation that I so badly needed.
I decided that I would focus on tea and started a blog where I reviewed different teas. I really didn’t know much about tea other than what I drank! So I started trying teas I would find or that companies would send me. A lot of the time, these teas were different blends. Then, I was gifted a tea book where I started to read about the history of tea, how it’s brewed, the cultivars etc!
After “reviewing” blends for a while I decided to switch to cooking and baking with tea because I felt more excited about that and that I know more about it than trying to review teas. My taste for blends started to falter (except my ceylon) and I tried pu’er for the first time. The rest is history!!!
So, thanks to the lovely ceylon leaves my heart was primed for tea and that love has only grown more and more daily!
I wanted to share two things that you can find online. The candy above which is a delicious saffron candy with cardamom seeds in it can be found here. These are a great sweet with tea if that’s your thing and was also a cure all for stomach aches :)
The cheese I mentioned you can find here. If you’re weary about buying cheese online, take the brand name to your local international supermarket and see if they have it!
Finally, if you want to try the tea that started it all you can find it here.
What tea started your tea journey?!