Tea Exploration

My Tea Gang!

Background

A few months ago, during one of the periods of intense anxiety, I had a feeling that I have had enough — I had to do something completely different about this anguish.

By then, I had tried adapting all sorts of new things into my life: Reading, Writing, Music, Movies, Walks, Time Management, I had tried a lot of things. Each had played their part, but the anxiety had remained.

What different can I do now, I thought.

I then decided to conduct experiments. This time around, I wouldn’t try anything new, instead, I would try quitting the olds.

I have a lot of habits, not all healthy I will admit. I now had to select and quit one. The task was difficult. What may I quit? — Day time nap? Smoking? Drinking? — I wasn’t ready to quit any of them.

And then I found a scapegoat: COFFEE!

Yes, I had gotten into the habit of consuming a great amount of coffee in one sitting. Two-Three tablespoons! I got into this addiction largely thanks to my days of working at an organization where I had to spend most of my time meeting people in cafes. And what does one do in cafes to keep oneself fresh and stimulated for conversations? — Drink crazy amount of coffee. That too: Americano! DOUBLE SHOTS!

It’s not that I wasn’t conscious of the effects coffee was having on me. Apart from the awakening ‘I am the best’ thoughts it gave me in the mornings, it had also woken me up on multiple nights with acid-reflux which I misjudged for a heart-attack. I knew it was coffee’s doing when I noticed that I had heartattachmare in those particular days in which I had a large amount of coffee. I had tried to quit it, I had tried to decrease the amount, but the lure of ‘I am the best’ thought was too grand for me to let go. After all, it’s Struggle For Existence! (How would I survive in this world doubting myself all the time.)

This way, I continued to consume coffee. But that day, I knew it had gone too far. I quietly told myself I would quit soon. But I kept drinking.

One fine morning, as I sat thinking of my future, I reached to an interesting thought— something bubbled inside me and filled me with energy. I now wanted coffee, for I wanted a booster to that energy. I got up from my seat and walked a couple of steps towards the coffee zone, when these thoughts hit me hard:

Remember Anxiety. Remember the heartattackmare. Quit Coffee. Quit Coffee Now. This is a new morning — perfect to quit. Don’t drink. Don’t drink.

Okay, those weren’t the exact thoughts. The point, however, is that I took a deep breath and followed the command. I didn’t make myself coffee that day. And haven’t done so since that day. It has been about three months!

The challenge for me was then to find a substitute for coffee. I was dependent on early morning stimulations. Once I used to drink pepper-water for that, but I quit it as it had disadvantages. I couldn’t go back. Pure water didn’t work and I didn’t want to become an alcoholic. That’s when I wondered if tea would be the solution. I got excited for a moment and was about to go make myself a cup when a memory of a different type of disgusting acid flux and pressure I felt after drinking a certain tea hit me hard. I sat down confused and sad. And thought.

‘Maybe the tea I drank was bad,’ I wondered. After all, I used to drink a cheap Nepali brand, made for mass-consumption:

Nepali Tea brand I once drank.

‘There must be better tea in this world. Teas can’t be that bad. Tea, after all, is what even Nietzsche suggested,’ I said to myself and dived into the internet. The first search result listed more 7–8 types of teas. I had only heard of black and green! I got excited. I made myself comfortable and read about those different types. Thus, began the exploration.

Basic Information

Following is the information I noted in my diary after the excitement:

Tea = all from the same plant = Camellia Sinensis.

Started in S China, thousands of ya.

Different types:

  • Black Tea: High in Caffeine, Equivalent to 1/2 as much as in a cup of coffee. CTC. Oxidized.
  • Green Tea: Lighter body, milder taste. Equivalent to 1/2 as much as in a cup of black tea. Harvested-> Steamed->Pan fried to halt oxidation.
  • White Tea: Light body, mild flavor. Low in caffeine. Minimally processed.
  • Oolong Tea: Oxidation between Black and Green Tea.
  • Pu-erh Tea: Fairly high in caffeine (same as black tea).
  • Purple Tea: Light body, mellow flavor. Low in caffeine, high in antioxidants.
  • Matcha: Powdered green tea from Japan.
  • Mate: from South America.
  • Herbal Tea: Generally no caffeine. Eg. turmeric.
  • Flavored: Eg. Peppermint, Chamomile.
  • Rooibos: Herbal tea from S Africa. No caffeine.

After this information, I drank a glass of water and made a decision to start exploring tea from that day.

The First Few Steps

I first went to a pure tea store in Kathmandu. It was the first time I had entered a dedicated tea shop. I looked around and was awestruck by the amount and variety of tea they had.

‘Wow, things on the internet have existence in reality too!’ I thought as I gazed around.

‘What do you want?’ a boy asked.

‘Umm…I want a strong tea,’ I said.

‘To take them abroad?’ the man, presumably the owner asked.

‘No, for me,’ I replied.

He said something to the young boy who opened the lid of a giant steel canister and showed me the insides. There were leaves I couldn’t make sense of.

‘Smell it,’ he said. I did. It smelled like a plant, nothing special! Of course, I didn’t want to show him I was an amateur lest he sell me a low quality item at a high price. I looked around. The owner noticed it.

‘What kind of tea are you looking for?’ he asked.

‘See, I have quit coffee and now I want a high caffeine quality tea,’ I told him. I thought it was the best way I would get a quality item.

‘Red tea,’ he told his young assitant, who then opened another giant canister in front of me. I looked inside and smelled. It smelled good!

‘Is it high in caffeine?’ I asked.

‘Highest.’ he replied.

‘How much in a cup?’ I asked.

‘A small spoonful.’

I felt nice. It was like childhood all over again when I went to a CD store and bought the music album I thought I would love.

I did the formalities and returned home. ‘I will now enjoy a great tea,’ I said to myself on the way.

But the tea enjoyment was elusive. No matter how many leaves I put into my cup, there was no relaxation, let alone the ‘I am the best’ thought. I tried for a week. Me, full of patience, my cup almost full of leaves: But nothing happened. I had kept the tea leaves in an air-tight container and had let the leaves remain for five minutes in water. I did everything, but the tea didn’t work.

‘Perhaps, I am not a tea guy,’ I said to myself and imagined the moment I would resume the coffee.

Meanwhile, the anxiety didn’t bother me for a few days. More so, due to the excitement of trying something new than due to the coffee-quit or the tea itself.

My first real purchased tea— didn’t work on me.

But I persevered and drank the local cheap tea instead. I have to say that, while it too gave me good thoughts, the reflux was too severe compared to it. A few days passed without me getting to feel megalomaniac.

One day, however, when I was at a department store, I had this idea of going to the tea section. And look what I bought there:

This little guy changed the game for me.

I went home with a bit of controlled excitement and opened this guy up. I then took a few leaves and put them in an empty cup. I filled it with water and let it remain for 5 minutes.

As I took in the aroma and then the first sip, I knew this tea was something else. It smelled amazing, like a mixture of tea, chocolate and cigar. The taste was good too. No bitterness. A rich smokey taste, in fact. The smell and the taste would have been enough to make me come back to it, but mid-way my cup, the tea made me think this as well:

‘I am the best.’

I knew I had found the perfect partner. I have been enjoying this tea ever since for these are a few things it does to me:

  • Doesn’t pressurize my bowels too much.
  • Kicks the anxiety away — not always but most of the time.
  • Gives me ‘I am the best,’ thought most of the time.

While that tea ticked the black tea box, I was in no mood to settle just with that tea, though. I still had a list to explore. What followed was a buying and talking-about-tea spree where I bought a couple of different white tea brands, got a green tea as a gift, bought Oolong tea, got spearmint, mint-tulsi mixed teas as gifts.

I haven’t had my hands on the following, yet:

  • Pu-erh Tea
  • Purple Tea
  • Matcha
  • Mate
  • Rooibos

Let me briefly point out the effects of teas I have tried.

White Tea №1:

This guy is a silver tip. When I bought it, I bought a teapot along with it. Here are its effects:

  • Good smell
  • Not too strong
  • Heats the body
  • Extremely relaxing
  • ‘I am the best,’ thought during every drink
  • Urge to pass (a lot).

White Tea №2:

This one is a tad cheaper than the one above and apart from the magnitude of relation, is similar to it in most effects.

  • Good smell
  • Not too strong
  • Heats the body
  • Relaxing
  • ‘I am the best,’ thought during every drink
  • Urge to pass (a lot).

Oolong Tea

I tried this first at a tea lounge and liked the effect it produced. I bought it the same day. Such was the first impression that I thought it would be the perfect tea for me and would even replace the black one. But, contrary to my expectations, I haven’t consumed this more than twice after that. The reason being that this tea weakens me.

  • Strong smell
  • Strong
  • Moderately Relaxing
  • ‘I am the best,’ thought occasionally
  • Urge to pass (a lot).
  • General weakness.

Spearmint Tea №1

This one I got as a gift. It is caffeine free and it even has this written on its cover:

Spearmint leaves make a minty refreshing drink that is wonderful and comforting. Spearmint was used by Romans for its ability to “wake up the mind”. It continues to be savored for its refreshing aroma and natural, caffeine free taste. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by its exceptional flavor.

With such hype, I drank this tea but found the claim to be a bit exaggerated

  • Refreshing smell
  • Tastes fresh
  • Not much relaxing
  • Does not bring forth the ‘I am the best,’ thought when it is non-existent.

Mint-Tulsi Tea

This I got as a gift from the tea shop where I bought the white tea above. It was given to me in a ziplock bag and since I have finished the tea, I have nothing to show.

  • Nice smell
  • Relaxing
  • ‘I am the best,’ thought occasionally
  • Refreshing

Others

I have tried a homegrown spearmint tea with an effect similar to the one above, but with less aroma.

While I have also tried green tea, lemongrass tea, and tulsi tea but not as regularly and with as much scrutiny as the ones above — which means I am not in the position to share their effects on me with confidence.

Overall, life after coffee has made anxiety a bit tolerable. I don’t think I would have been able to say that if it wasn’t for the tea exploration I commenced. Apart from that, tea has been helpful for me in socializing, in studying, in writing and in planning out my works. In dreaming too!

Tea is a powerful drink, there’s certainly much more to it than meets the tongue!

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Adesh Acharya

Adesh Acharya

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Creator, Writer | Think, See and Experience Mind-Life-World with me. Subscribe to me via email. More at https://fradesh.com |