Recently we have become obsessed with tea. Maybe not obsessed, exactly, but we are far bigger fans of it than we were before. I am a drinker - I like to drink things. I like to drink alcohol in pretty much all of its forms, and I like to be buzzed, but I don't like being drunk. I wish I could drink more alcohol before I got to the uncomfortable and unsafe stage. I like coffee too, and I appreciate the stimulating effects of the caffeine, but, as with alcohol, if I drink too much of it I start to feel... unsafe. My heartbeat speeds up and becomes irregular, I get jittery and paranoid and am more susceptible to wild moodswings.
So tea is the perfect drink for me. I can drink far more of it before I start to feel the effects of the caffeine, and when it does hit me, it is far smoother than coffee can provide. The problem is that tea isn't very good unless it's really good. So I can't drink just any old Celestial Seasonings or Liptons tea. In fact, I really prefer loose-leaf tea (we've tried as much high-end bagged tea as I feel is necessary). So here is another thing that we've lost before we knew what we had when we moved to North Carolina. By comparison, Orlando was crawling with tea shops. Our favorite was Infusion Tea on Edgewater. We went occasionally, but now, as tea-drinking vegetarians, we realize what a fantastic restaurant we can no longer visit. Honestly, all we have been able to find here is Teavana, which is okay, but not fantastic. I appreciate their apparent intention to bring loose-leaf tea to a mass audience, but the store feels like a Best Buy version of a tea shop. The salespeople have to hustle you for commissions and I feel like I'm being grifted.
If you live in a place with a local tea shop, I recommend that you go soon. Go and order a cup of oolong tea and a bowl of vegan chili. It's the perfect day for it.