Anyone who has worked with me knows I drink a whole lot of tea. I used to have a teapot on my desk at the Newton TAB newsroom and at the Enterprise which I would use to make tea, usually bought from Virtuous Teas in Newton, easily my favorite tea store. If you haven’t been there, one of the most fun things to do is just stand there smelling the varieties, something you can’t do at Tealuxe at the South Shore Plaza nor at Teavana on Boylston Street — you have to ask to smell the tea at those places. And Eo, the owner of Virtuous teas, is really nice and knowledgeable about the hundreds of varieties she has for sale there.
My best news video ever was on a teapot exhibit at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton:
So now that you know I am a total tea freak, here are some of my favorites. My standards I get from the hundreds of jars that line the walls at Virtuous Teas are Vanilla Green (great anytime, hot or cool); Spicy Green (also great hot or cool, but a favorite of mine in the winter months, because it tastes kind of like holiday spices); Ginger Peach (a black tea); Scented Earl Grey Creme (has a little vanilla in it that makes the smell warmer than the usual earl grey); Flavored Tea Garden Blend (rose, cherry and jasmine in green tea); Lemony Gunpowder (good and strong, for a green, for when I want a little more caffeine than normal green but not a full black tea); Rooibos Melange (red tea with great, flowery scents that make the incredibly healthy rooibos seem less boring, since by itself it’s a little flat, to me); and Peach Green.
I’ve also tried and liked Mate Carnivalle, which is caffeine-free but made with more natural, eye-opening “mate” tea. By itself, mate tea is a little flat — I drink tea for the same reason a lot of people drink coffee, because I want the energy boost. And mate supposedly provides that (although I’ve never done a scientific test to see whether it truly makes a difference). So the vanilla and coffee help this tea seem a lot more flavorful and less like a bunch of dead leaves in hot water.
I figure if I’m going to call myself a real tea enthusiast, I eventually have to move to the unflavored varieties of green tea. I’ve tried many, and like some, but I have to say I really like the flavored varieties better. They just have a more enticing taste and smell than plain greens.