I have always loved drinking tea, but in the past few years I have become increasingly obsessed with it.
Part of this is thanks to my increased exposure to really high-grade teas.
In ye olden days, I used to collect box after box of Celestial Seasonings (herbal tisanes, not actually tea, so I will not refer to it as such), Twinings (their Earl Grey used to be one of my jams for a long time) Good Earth Tea (which I used to love til I found out that their cinnamon flavor was artificial), Harney & Sons (shockingly — especially for a supposed high-end tea — they use a lot of artificial flavorings, too) and the like.
Then, a few years ago, some tea-loving co-workers got me into collecting a ton of loose tea, either ordered online from places like Adagio Tea and Simpson & Vail, or purchased at Ren Faires and farmers markets. Those teas are definitely far above supermarket stuff. Made me swear off pre-bagged tea forever — I upgraded to “rolling my own”, buying empty tea bag paper from Daiso & filling them with my tea of choice.
HOWEVER — my partner has introduced me to the Holy Grail of high-quality tea, which lives in a shop not far from his place. Lucky for us, because we are both OBSESSED.
Don’t get me wrong — I still like some flavored teas and herbal infusions. But learning to appreciate the taste of fine tea and all its myriad flavors and nuances — instead of covering it up with other additives — is a complete game-changer. I thank Xiu Xian Tea, a shop in WA, for deepening my tea education. Forget Teavana, and FUCK all that powdery stuff in pre-made bags. Xiu Xian is a fine example of a legit tea shop.