Tea, Coffee, or ???

I have a serious tea addiction. Well, not quite an addiction, because I can go a day or two without it without getting any withdrawal symptoms, but my day does tend to feel unfinished if I don’t get my cup of black tea at some point.

At some point before 3:00, that is, because after that I can’t have any caffeine that isn’t chocolate-related, unless I want to stay awake ALL NIGHT LONG.

This is a bit of a problem sometimes, when it gets to be mid-afternoon or early evening, and I want some sort of cozy, comfort drink. Sometimes I can make herbal tea work, and sometimes hot chocolate, and sometimes I just have to suck it up and endure until the next morning.

I enjoy coffee, but it’s a normal food-and-drink related enjoyment. Tea, I enjoy as much for the experience as for the flavor. What is it Nora says to Anne in Anne of Windy Poplars? “Anne Shirley, do you think a cup of tea is a panacea for everything? It’s you who ought to be the old maid, not me.” (In her defense, Anne was being particularly grating at the time) But yes, along with Anne Shirley and Miss Marple and countless others in literature, I think of tea as a cure-all for all ills.

But I know some people feel that way about coffee (ahem, Lorelai Gilmore), and some people don’t understand a fondness for hot drinks at all. Which got me wondering: what do most people choose for their comfort drink? I asked on Twitter, and then decided it was a question worthy of a blog post – or at least more worthy than most topics that float across my mind these days.

So. What’s your preference for a drink that’s experience and flavor, something that can bring you comfort no matter how grim everything is? Because inquiring minds want to know.

And you never know, at some point I might want to write a character who doesn’t love tea as much as I do, and I’d better have some realistic alternative for him or her!

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10 thoughts on “Tea, Coffee, or ???

  1. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool teaist. It’s the religious belief that a cuppa cures all ills.
    My husband used to bring me a cup of tea in bed in the morning, because I couldn’t wake up without it, and I’d keep going through the rest of the pot all day long (until about 5:00PM, and then I had to quit, just like you said). First it was black tea, then I switched to green for health reasons, and then – oh woe! – it became apparent that my tea very much aggravates my stomach troubles (acid reflux). It’s very sad. I have now switched over entirely to rooibos tea, which is the only caffeine-free tea that comes close in flavour and body to real tea. But, on the upside, I have yet to meet any tea I didn’t like – well, none that comes under the “culinary” heading as opposed to the “medicinal” one (stinging nettle tea is, quite simply, awful). Lemon balm is lovely, hibiscus tastes like juice, and of course rooibos comes in as many flavours as black tea does (and, just to refute something Riss says, chamomile tea does *not* taste like hay. Nope.).
    Sorry not to be more help in your research…

    • Ha, Riss’s comment on chamomile tea tasting like hay is one of the few instances where the character is the author’s mouthpiece. Although I think it’s the scent more than the flavor, but still. It tastes dusty, but an outdoors dust – hence, hay.

      I do enjoy rooibos, though I tend to forget about it for long stretches of time. It’s apparently got loads of health benefits, too, although the copious amounts of honey and cream I put in mine might undo those. The tea shop in town sells a creme brulee rooibos, and it smells like heaven. I’m just waiting for a good excuse to buy myself some. :-)

      • Chamomile tea is a soothing-away-sickness tea for me, so very much a comfort flavour. We didn’t often drink it for every day (that was peppermint or rosehip), but if you’re sick in Germany you get chamomile tea – even in the hospital, I’m told. So to me, chamomile is floral and healing, but not hay-like, or even bitter (which is another derogatory thing I’ve heard it called). On the other hand, I don’t understand what’s with this chicken soup thing when you’re sick – give me my chamomile tea, thank you very much!

        And now that you remind me: early on in my blogging journey (when I could still drink regular tea) I wrote a post about this: http://amo1967.blogspot.ca/2010/10/teaism.html. I hadn’t even come up with my regular tag line then. There you have it.

  2. I’m a fellow tea drinker, and routinely tell people who cast aspersions on it, or tease me for insisting on good loose leaf tea, that tea is the eighth sacrament (or the third if you’re lower down the candle). About twice a day, usually elev and half four, I will drop whatever I am doing for a cup of tea. But brought up on a diet of Barbara Pym, I am just as attached to cocoa, and unless it’s Lent, I neve fail to make a cup up before bed.

    I confess camomile never curried much favour with me either, for sleepy time tea I brew lavender tea, and sage tea if ill. But if I can’t gave red rose (and I can’t even I’m not home in Canada) there is nothing yo hold a candle to orange blossom oolong this time of year. It tastes of summer to me.

    • I do have a lavender-chamomile blend that I love, and is the perfect before-bed cuppa. And yes, loose-leaf tea is the best, if at all possible! Bagged is only if your only other option is no tea at all.

  3. I’m one of those people who really could do without hot drinks. I’m a Coke a Cola person, not Diet, Cherry, Zero, or whatever else. It is my comfort drink. I can’t stand black coffee. I think it tastes like dirt. I will take a white chocolate mocha sometimes though.

    As to tea… Growing up in my neck of the woods, tea meant iced tea. I cannot stand it, and it’s the only caffeinated drink that keeps me awake at night. Now that more teas are known to me, they still don’t appeal to me, but again I’m not really a fan of hot drinks. Sometimes I would still like to tell a hole in a wall “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot!” though.

    • Of course, you live in an area where hot drinks probably aren’t as important as they are six months out of the year here. Although I drink tea – hot tea, sometimes iced, but NEVER sweet tea – year round, and it’s only on the hottest days when I find myself turning to iced coffee instead.

      I can’t drink most sodas at all anymore, they bother my stomach terribly. Coke is the worst, which is a pity because I used to enjoy it. Alas!

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