True stories with a twist!


Are you a gourmet? An oenophile? A coffee expert?

Gourmets describe food as, “Succulent,” ”Tender” or “Light.”

Oenophiles describe wine as, “Oaky,” “Fruity,” or Fragrant.images.jpeg

Coffee experts describe coffee as “Robust,” “Full Roasted, or “Bitter.”

But tea specialists don’t have a roster of adjectives for tea. Tea specialists don’t even have a name.

Lately, tea folks sound as if they are competing with wine experts.  images-2.jpeg

What there is to describe about tea? Tea is just tea. It’s what you drink with a teaspoon of honey when you have a sore throat! Are there really enough differences between brands that we need an entire new profession to describe them? As I look though the latest tea catalogue from a respected company, I am amazed to read the qualities regarding types of tea they offer.

Their new selection of teas from Columbia is unique because of “the rich volcanic soil in which they are grown,” states the company. It claims that the soil adds a special flavor to the tea. If volcanic soil could improve tea plants, I wonder if it would add a unique flavor to my Rutgers “Early Girl” tomatoes this summer? If so, where can I get some?

Would a new business importing volcanic ash from Columbia win support from any  “Shark Tank” investors?

Teas are often described as having “Good Mouth Feel.” My mouth feels fine, thank you, except for the canker sore I developed because of eating or drinking something too hot. Could have been the hot tea?

The catalogue goes on to discuss Bold tea. Is “Bold” a characteristic that leads to  “Aggressive?” Or “Powerful ?”

Or am I confusing tea tasting terminology with the “Me Too” movement?

After that possibility, it is clear that there is a need for comfort and calm. So the catalogue changes the pace and introduces a lovely fragrant tea with a toasty aroma. All I need is my slippers, a warm lap blanket and a fire in the fireplace and I’ll be ready to sip.

Don’t you love statements about flavors that “linger into the finish.” Are we discussing the Olympics again; which candidates finish, and who wins the gold?

All this talk about teas is very confusing and keeps mixing metaphors.

And I have never been able to detect characteristics such as “hints of spring flowers,” notes of pineapple and a hint of honey.” My taste buds are not sophisticated enough to appreciate these exotic qualities.

What is wrong with a good old fashioned cup of tea made from a Lipton teabag?

Comments on: "HIGH TEA HIGHS" (40)

  1. ha..ha.. very entertaining blog. Nicely done. Me too.. just normal lipton tea:)

  2. Ah, a topic close to my heart! I consider myself a tea snob: no bags, tea steeped to my taste not some arbitrary time limit and I relax with the leaf. I think of coffee as the drink of the masses and tea as the drink of the elite. Yep, I’m a snob. I’m also a gourmand!

  3. I have to agree – I also find the high brow tea connoisseurs just a little amusing. I wonder how they would describe “Gumboot” or “Builders Tea” . c

  4. I love tea and reading this just made me want some… ☺❤

  5. What there is to describe about tea?

    My late father was wont to wax lyrical about a cuppa’s Ringelmann Factor: the stronger the brew, the higher the RF. (And, after all this time, it’s only now that I’ve looked the word up and found that, sure enough, there are five grades of it!)

  6. Why do there always have to be tasting notes on things to confuse us? As a coffee addict, I just say: strong, too weak, yummy or yukky. Works for me.

  7. You don’t want to mess with Rutgers. I can’t grow tomatoes here on the coast but I used to love growing the Rutgers back in Indiana. Super post, Ronnie.

  8. That was interesting, Ronnie. Yo’re right (of course). Hadn’t thought of descriptions in this way.

  9. A tea-bag !!!! to a lover of tea like me, that’s akin to drinking tea-dust !!!
    I live and die by a tea called lapsang souchong… made by Twinings and other expensive purveyors, hard to find these days so I send off to a specialist shop, who post me a huge silver packet. According to the Twinings packet, the leaves are dried, then spread out on a bamboo tray and smoked using pine needles beneath the tray.
    It does taste smoky, all my guests use that word, and it’s subtle and delicious… oh dear – all those marketing adjectives !!!

    • I agree with the marketing adjectives when it comes to lapsang souchong. “Smoky” is the perfect word to describe it. I buy loose teas from, who have an enormous variety and huge selections from all over the world. I wonder if there are some from New Zealand…

  10. When I have a cold, just a regular tea with a spoonful of honey does the trick. Otherwise, I do like the flavored teas. I even have a sassafras or echinacea for healthy choices. So many choices!

  11. I’m not a tea drinker, but this post really talks to me. Lately I’ve been starting to lump marketers in the same not-so-flattering category as lawyers.

    I’m a coffee drinker. I want my coffee hot and fresh. Is that so difficult?

    I can tell I still have a bit of grouch on this morning. Perhaps I need another coffee 😉

  12. Adrianne Bendich said:

    Thanks so much, Ronnie. Hope you will consider trying some flavored black teas that have wonderful fragrances such as blackberry and currant and also the spice teas such as constant comment and winter spice. Loose teas from Harrods that are so light weight, especially their flowery Earl Gray, were easy to carry home and were reminders of lovely trips. Thanks for triggering these memories.

    • Actually, I do use loose tea leaves. My brother-in-law turned me on to Upton Teas, which has a huge selection. My favorite is “Tippy Orthodox,” an Assam tea. But drinking teas from Harrods has the added advantage of triggering memories of your wonderful trip to London.

  13. As a prolific tea drinker Ronnie I couldn’t agree more.. I have changed recently the brand of tea I drink to one of loose leaf tea and an organic blend. I have to say I did taste the difference.
    Lipton is still a great tasting tea.. And I drink lots of nettle tea too, something I think your palette has to get used to, but now I love it.

    Hope you have a super week.. Sending hugs x Sue ❤

  14. Not being a tea drinker, my descriptions of tea would be as follows. “Not that good”, “Pretty bad” and Yuck!”. Hope this helps.

  15. I don’t need fancy tea metaphors either. Just a nice Earl Grey and a dab of milk will do!

  16. Excellent synopsis, Ill stick to Beer with its heavy intoxicating Malt flavour.

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