Books and Tea has been stirring in my head for a while. I have another site I use to post my thoughts about my particular industry (writing, edting, and content marketing). Although I used to post book and tea reviews there, those posts didn’t fit in with the rest of the content I was writing.

This new site is the result of that realization. So what better way to start out than by sharing something I wrote on my freelance blog last year?

Dear Tea: I Love You

It’s only been in the past few years or so that I’ve been drinking loose-leaf teas instead of bagged ones. Before that, I only had access to the generic kinds found in the grocery store, which always tasted kind of gross.

I learned early on that green teas were my favourite. White varieties were okay, but I didn’t want to try black teas at all after years of Orange Pekoe and hibiscus and chamomile. Slowly, my collection grew – a tin from Teaopia (now Teavana) here, a bag from David’s there, a stop-off at the Sloane pop-up shop on Toronto’s Path after that…..

And that was just the beginning. Late in 2013 year I found Steepster, the tea community’s equivalent to Goodreads. I started reading the reviews on there to know which ones were good and which ones to avoid. Early in 2014 I went one step further and opened my own account. When I mentioned this on Twitter, my friend Jessica asked whether I was going to the Toronto Tea Festival.

Having never heard of it, I did some googling, found the site for the festival, and rubbed my hands in glee. Jessica and I made arrangements soon afterwards to attend the festival together, which happened a few weeks later.

It was glorious.

The Appel Salon was packed full of tea vendors and drinkers. Tables and tables full of different types – greens, whites, blacks, oolongs, herbals, rooibos, pu’erhs, everything! – to sip and sample. This was an amazing opportunity to try teas I’d never had before, and to buy from independent stores instead of the big chains. I ended up buying 5 different kinds – 2 greens, 2 whites, and an oolong.

The two white teas were kind of hit and miss – the fruit-flavoured white tea I got from Majesteas was a huge disappointment in particular – but the oolong was a nice introduction to that variety, and the two greens from Capital Teas were absolutely lovely.

Since then, I’ve gone on a bit of a (HUGE) tea-buying spree. Steepster is now a huge source of temptation, because posting reviews of new teas is one of the built-in mechanics to gaining a wider following on the site. Seeing all the reviews of other teas on that site and figuring out which ones I want to try is my current replacement for window shopping. I’ve got about 30 100 teas of various amounts in the dining room now. The pressure is on to go through the smaller amounts faster – that way I can buy some more!

Anyways, yes. Tea. It’s lovely, it’s delicious, and it’s gotten to the point where on some days I’m not even drinking water anymore.