What’s Your “Why?”
Like any good mystery, the “how” often begins with the “why.” So ask yourself: Why do you want to become a tea drinker? What draws you to tea?
Maybe you’re drawn to the concept of tea. The ritual. The simple pleasure. The snacks! You like the lifestyle that surrounds tea, but the actual tea part is the thing you haven’t gotten excited about... yet.
Maybe you’ve heard about the myriad health benefits that come from drinking tea, and you want to ramp up your intake of antioxidants and nutrients. But there are a lot of options out there and you haven’t been able to navigate getting started... yet.
Maybe you’re trying to scale back on caffeine or sweets. You know that tea can be a great stand-in for coffee or dessert, but it’s not cake or a triple-shot latte (that’s a thing, right? I’m a tea drinker, not a coffee person), so you haven’t been able to muster anything approaching real enthusiasm... yet.
All that is about to change!
To paraphrase Alice in Wonderland, “'The time has come,' the walrus said, 'to learn to love some tea!'” (P.S. Alice loves tea, and so do all these literary characters. You can, too! I’ll help.) Let’s begin.
First Things First: Flavor Testing
There are many teas that I like. There are some teas that are not, as it were, my cup of tea. And then there are teas that I LOVE. This knowledge was acquired through a process of trial and error. There is simply no other way.
But if you’ve struggled – to no avail – to find a tea that you love (or even like), I recommend the process of educated trial and error: Take the Plum Deluxe tea quiz!
It’s short. It’s fun. It’s helpful!
I took the quiz myself, and my top result ranks among the teas that I LOVE. (Portland Rose City Chai – delicious!) So I have faith in the Plum Deluxe tea quiz. Ten out of ten, I would recommend. And do. Go take it.
Stick to Your Guns – Remember Your “Why”
As you go through your process of educated trial and error, it will be helpful to remind yourself of your “why.” For the various motives behind tackling how to become a tea drinker, here are some tips to make the journey successful – and fun.
Create a Tea Ritual
You may decide to drink your tea in the morning, at night, or somewhere in between. Regardless of the time of day, establishing a lovely tea routine (there’s definitely a pun there) is a great way to help you look forward to your daily cuppa.
Maybe you light a candle. Maybe you make your to-do list for the day. Maybe you keep a gratitude journal. Maybe you take the opportunity to practice mindfulness. Maybe you sit and do absolutely nothing. (Bliss!) Whatever you do, make it your own. The practice you build around your teatime enhances the experience and transcends the tea itself. Plum Deluxe is all about making moments that matter. That’s worth a little trial and error, don’t you think?
Raise a Glass to Your Health
Are you diving into the world of tea because of the health benefits? Wise decision! Tea is so good for you. It can help combat headaches, treat a cold, calm your nerves, boost productivity, and improve memory.
According to nutritionist Jonny Bowden, regularly drinking tea can lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. It’s full of antioxidants, helps reduce blood sugar, stimulates your metabolism, and releases dopamine.
Need I go on? Go put a kettle on right now! Your body will thank you.
Swap Out Your Sweets
Okay, I know. Anyone with a caffeine addiction or a major sweet tooth will laugh in your face when you suggest “having a nice cup of tea” instead of their beloved coffee, soda, or baked good. I’m not suggesting it’s a one-to-one comparison. But if you are genuinely trying to scale back on any of the above, then tea can be a really great replacement. (I feel you all laughing at me now. But seriously, you guys. It is.)
If you need the caffeine, start with a strong black tea. You get a nice dose of caffeine without the jitters. If you crave dessert at the end of every meal (I know I do), then try a dessert tea. It might take a while for your palate to adjust from dessert to dessert tea, but it will happen.
Here is a very honest reaction from my sister, who is not a tea drinker, but who is – as it happens - thinking of trying to become one. When she first tasted Vanilla Sugar Cookie dessert tea, she smacked her lips thoughtfully and said, “It tastes like a cookie...” – more thoughtful smacking – “...soaked in water.”
And, friends, I take that as a win. Because tea is not a cookie. Tea is water! But it tastes like a cookie. It has the idea of a cookie. And it has none of the calories and a lot more health benefits. So if you’re craving a cookie but want to ditch the calories, drink cookie-ish water! Is it any weirder than sugared bean water? No. (And I bet you had to acquire a taste for that when you first started drinking it, too.) So give it a try. I promise, you’ll come around, as my sister said, “eventually.”
Covering the Basics: Final Tips to Get You Started
We have a ton of great information in our Tea 101 series, teaching you everything you could possibly want to know about how to become a tea drinker:
- The basics of loose leaf.
- How much tea to use per cup.
- Time and temperature guidelines.
- What is steeping, anyway?
Types of Teas
If you’re getting bogged down first and foremost with what type of tea you might enjoy the most, it may be helpful to read up on the basic flavor profile for each type. You have black tea, green tea, white tea, chai, and herbal. As a rule of thumb, black teas are strong and sturdy. Green teas are grassier and more herbaceous. White teas are delicate. Chai is spicy and complex. Herbal teas can range anywhere from earthy to sweet.
Hopefully that helps point you in a general direction, but again, the tea quiz will do a much better job of that than I can.
Caffeinated vs Non-Caffeinated
If it’s important to you that your tea be non-caffeinated, stick with herbal tea. Most other teas will contain some level of caffeine, unless it specifically says otherwise. (Like No Obligations decaf blend with hazelnut, almond, and cinnamon. It’s black tea, but it’s decaf!)
Choosing an Infuser
Picking out your infuser is an essential first step for a new loose leaf tea drinker. And it’s fun! There are tons of different styles to accommodate your needs and express your personality.
I especially recommend infusers with a very fine mesh for new tea drinkers, because tiny chunks of leaves floating in one’s beverages can be off-putting for some. While the seasoned tea drinker may not mind tiny flecks of “flavor” swirling around their cuppa, those still acquiring a taste for tea may prefer a more traditionally chunk-less beverage. In which case, a fine-mesh infuser will be your best non-sentient, tea-related friend.
Enjoy the Journey
Remember to have fun with all of this. Becoming a tea drinker opens doors to an exciting realm of rich flavors, delightful experiences – and health benefits, to boot. It’s awesome. And you’re well on your way. Cheers, friend!