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When it comes to tea, we all have to start somewhere. For most people, it is the common and convenient tea bag. Now some of us tea enthusiast’s (sometimes known as tea snobs,) our first reaction might be, “That is not real tea.” But for the curious newbie in the tea world, that could sound condescending and intimidating. That will not help or encourage them. What would be beneficial to them could be a little education and direction. I am not a tea expert, but rather a tea lover and I do my best to share that love and knowledge which I have gained over the years with them so that they too can get the most of what tea has to offer them. I must admit that sometimes I do have to stop myself from getting too excited and take a step back from going a little too far and just relax.
As with gourmet chocolate and a delicious wine, tea has been considered a luxury item. Of course, some people you might run into will consider themselves “tea experts” and “tea sommeliers.” They might know the history of the tea leaf, what tea is paired with a specific dish, what color/shade your tea should be, and the temperature of the water and even the health benefits of each ingredient. But there is absolutely no specific way any expert can tell you how to make a perfect cup of tea. There is only one right way to make YOUR perfect cup of tea, and that is to brew it the way that you enjoy it.
People will tell you that a true tea connoisseur will never add anything to their tea such as cream or sugar. The way I look as that is; would I rather have an unofficial title of a tea expert of some sort, or be able to enjoy my cup of tea the way I want it? Tea should be what you want it to be.
So if it is tea bags, sweeteners or added flavors that you are first introduced when entering this wonderfully extensive world of tea, just keep in mind that this is a massive journey you have embarked on. There is so much room for growth and endless knowledge. You will have your own preferences and rituals just as I have mine. Do not let anyone scare you away from tea with marketing messages, right & wrong methods and just plain misinformation. Be open-minded and don’t believe all the claims that the manufacturers tell you. You will be caught in the crossfire and overwhelmed with half-truths. Keep things simple, welcoming and most importantly, fun!