Reading the Tea Leaves

I’m a coffee person. I believe in not wasting my time fueling the body and want the most bang out the gate. The stronger the caffeine intake, the more efficient I am in the day. However, I have been known to occasionally brew a cup of tea. Not so much for the caffeine or health benefits or whatnot, but mostly because it’s cold out and I want to warm my hands.

I’ve long been a fan of the bergamot in Earl Grey teas. I suspect I like Earl Grey because it’s a meaty, robust tea and if I don’t think about it too much, I can fool myself into thinking it’ll give me the same kick as a strong cup of Sumatran.


Delicious, handcrafted teas


A few years ago, I was introduced to T. This particular tea company is based in Vancouver, BC and has the bragging rights of being served in fine dining establishments the world over – from Dubai and Portugal to England, Russia and America. Each flavor offered by T is certified organic and blended by hand in small batches. Each black tin is labeled with beautiful watercolor imagery and has a decidedly handcrafted feel.

I am the proud owner of three flavors: Vanilla Rooibos, Lavender Earl Grey, and Jamaican Spice. Not only are these lose teas flavorful and unique, they are beautiful to look at – twisted dried leaves, flower petals, and herbs galore.

When you first open the canister and smell Vanilla Rooibos, it immediately brings to mind a high-quality vanilla tobacco smell. A truly herbal tea with no caffeine, this aromatic tea is best with a touch of milk and honey.

Also herbal, the Jamaican Spice tea is both fruity and spicy, with hibiscus flowers, cinnamon bark, cloves, and the zest of both lemon and orange. This tangy tea is best served with no milk or sweetener.

My favorite of the three, Lavender Earl Grey, is made from Ceylon and China estate black teas, oil of bergamot, organic lavender buds, and blue cornflower petals. It’s like Earl Grey in a perfumery, and I love a cup of this tea with a scant bit of milk.

If there’s any tea in the world that could convert me from my coffee bean ways, it would be T. But I really doubt that will ever happen.