Why I Love … Tea

This post is by Dr. Peter J. Meyers of 30GO30.

It’s funny how even a small passion can change the course of your life. I know, tea isn’t exactly bullfighting or climbing K2, but discovering a love for tea has led me on more adventures than any expedition could. Here are a few ways that igniting even the smallest passion can have an amazing impact.

I discovered variety

Growing up in Illinois farm country, tea meant Lipton in a bag, probably buried in the back of the cupboard. Even coffee only came in two varieties: regular and Methodist decaf (regular with an orange lid, just in case someone asked for decaf). Hot drinks were a purely utilitarian exercise, designed to keep you awake in the morning and warm in the winter.

Image is author's own

Imagine my surprise when I learned that tea didn’t always come in bags or Lipton boxes, and it could be green, white, red, or dozens of shades in between. A quick count on online tea retailer Adagio.com shows 130 varieties, and that doesn’t include herbals or blends (for you purists). We all need a little variety to keep life interesting.

I left the path

Variety doesn’t just find you—you have to go looking for it. My love for tea got me to wander Chinatown and leave the beaten path of dim-sum restaurants and bubble-tea stands. I’ve never fought any Triad bosses, but the herbalists and tea shops have their own intrigue. One of my favorite tea memories is buying $130/lb. rose-petal tea out of an engraved metal drum in the back of the store. Maybe it was just $20/lb. tea with more showmanship (I’m not sure I would’ve known back then), but isn’t showmanship half the fun?

I sought rarity

Image is author's own

It’s fantastic to have instant access to so much online. We can buy spices and fine silks in ten minutes—with overnight shipping—that nations once warred over. Still, it sometimes takes the fun out of shopping. We’ve lost touch with the rare and exceptional when everything is just a click away. Being passionate about something makes you a connoisseur. That doesn’t mean you have to be a snob, but you start to appreciate rarity again. It’s exciting to have to work to find something truly unique.

I found adventure

When my wife and I traveled to Taiwan a couple of years ago, she asked me what I wanted to do there, and I had two requests: see a baseball game and go to a tea plantation. We ended up finding a homestay in the mountains connected to a tea plantation (pictured above). The mountains were gorgeous, but it turned out that the homestay owner was also an incredible tour guide. We discovered all sorts of hidden local treasures, including sunrise over Alishan mountain.

Without that bit of culinary passion to drive me, we would’ve missed out on a real adventure. Of course, I also had to bring back some tea.

Dr. Peter J. Meyers (“Dr. Pete”) is a cognitive psychologist, accidental entrepreneur, and aspiring non-procrastinator. He recently founded 30GO30, a site dedicated to finding out exactly how much you can accomplish in 30 days.

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Comments

  1. Karol K says:

    Tea is my favorite drink. Too bad it’s that difficult to find a decent joint where someone can actually steep one. At least in Poland ;) … there are some great places for tea drinkers here though

  2. Dr. Pete says:

    @Karol – What better to wash down a nice plate of cheese pierogis than a hot cup of tea? :)

    • Karol K says:

      That’s right! :)

      How about Yerba Mate, have you tried it?

      • Dr. Pete says:

        Yeah – I like it, or at least some of the blends. I have a funny Mate story, actually. An Argentinian friend who lives in California gave me some while we were visiting once. She didn’t have a container, so she just put it in a Ziploc bag. I didn’t really think about it until I got to the airport, when I realized I had a Ziploc bag full of nondescript green leaves in my suitcase. I’m not sure if I felt better or worse that no one noticed.

  3. georgina says:

    That tea plantation looks idyllic. I’m hoping to get to a coffee plantation this year while I’m on holiday, but I don’t know if it’ll be quite as serene…

    • Dr. Pete says:

      Taiwan is a beautiful country, with an interesting blend of Chinese and Japanese influences. We only spent a couple of days in the mountains, and I’d really like to go back.

  4. Jing says:

    I’ve always prefered tea over coffee. It always baffles me why tea has been so underrated in the west over coffee. Tea is so much better both for a persons health and energy.

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    with a cup of coffee.

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