February 2nd, 2006

Fueled by tea

Most writers have some sort of rituals or requirements for writing: Some require vast quantities of diet sodas for those deadline times. Others need music, be it classical, metal or electronica.

I do my best work sipping tea. I am, however, a very particular tea drinker. I'm not (to put it mildly) a fan of most bagged teas, which lack the true flavor of good loose teas. A Lipton tea bag is about as interesting to me as a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck is to a fine wine connoisseur. A really good loose tea is one that expands to a full leaf after steeping. For example, here's what I'm drinking right now:

Before brewingAfter brewing

This is an expensive oolong I bought in Chinatown last week. Contrary to popular belief, green, black and oolong teas are grown from the same plants; the only difference is the amount of fermentation, or oxidization, each tea goes through (oolong is between black tea, which is completely fermented, and green, which is almost not fermented at all). I wish you could smell this tea right now; even before it's steeped, it has a gorgeous, floral scent, not unlike orchids. It's actually better for the heart than green tea, and has relatively mild amounts of caffeine (which is good for me). I paid $9.00 for a quarter pound of this right out of one of the ritzy glass containers at the tea counter in Wing Hop Fung, but it was worth every cent.

I'm fueled now. Back to work.