Over the years of writing about tea I have come up with quite a few resolutions of particular interest to tea lovers. Now, for your convenience, here they are consolidated into one long list. Pick and choose those that suit you.
- Start your day with a different tea than usual, such as enjoying an Oolong, a grassy Sencha, or a pu-erh instead of a breakfast blend.
- Learn at least one new piece of information about tea per month.
- Read a tea book or two or even three (there’s tons of ’em out there).
- Attend tea seminars.
- Adopt someone as your tea protégé to teach them about tea.
- Make a point of having a daily “tea moment” (just you, a cozy spot, and a cuppa tea)
- Order some tea samples totally different from any teas you’ve tried before ― expand your taste horizons! (I have some extra samples, many unopened, still available and only ask that you cover postage and handling.)
- Add a special teapot to your arsenal and use it at a tea party with friends so they can share the thrill of pouring tea through a teapot elephant’s trunk, or the chimney of a house-shaped teapot, or an Art Deco design teapot.
- Ditto for a special teacup and saucer or a mug.
- Go a step further and begin your collection of antique teawares from Wedgwood and other makers.
- Try at least one new tea every month and hold your own little mini-tea-tasting, even if it’s just you and the cat (or dog), paying close heed to the qualities of the tea — the aroma and color of the dry tea, the aroma and color of the tea liquid infused to its peak (the “golden pour”), the taste as it first embraces your tongue, spreads out to ping! every tastebud, and then moves around the interior of your mouth.
- Have a tea party with a young tea drinker (your child or a niece or nephew).
- Try a different way of preparing your teas, for example doing a gongfu style preparation instead of the European style.
- Explore new ways to enjoy tea — hot, chilled, and even used in food recipes.
- Try a recipe using tea or tea oils. Matcha in a pastry or tea in your stew or soup will add a unique flavor.
- Come up with your own special flavored tea, such as adding diced dried apricots in with one of your favorite black or green tea, or your own blend of teas for your personal enjoyment and/or to share with friends.
- Start your own boutique tea company (assuming that your tea blends are a hit with your friends), like so many seem to be doing these days.
- Stay true to your own tastes when it comes to tea. Sure you can get advice from me, a couple dozen other blogs, the college kid working in the local tea shop, or your Uncle Fred. But you will sooner or later need to deal with your tastebuds and your sense of smell, and they aren’t going to be happy if you don’t listen to them. Mine practically scream “Assam!” at me in the morning and then start nudging me about some Darjeeling in the afternoon, and get downright insistent in the evening for some soothing Sencha.
- Make or buy that long-overdue Tea Princess Kit so you never get stuck having to settle for that stuff they serve in restaurants. By now those of us who have been enjoying fine teas at home know that there is a total absence of anything even remotely like them to be found in most restaurants in the U.S., so bringing that kit along is increasingly essential. My personal kit is shown here, complete with a suitable treat. Since we only eat out rarely these days and then usually in certain places, the staff there have become familiar with this kit and also know to bring me water that has been brought to a full boil. Heh heh!
- Learn to say “herbal infusion” instead of “herbal tea.” I know a lot of tea vendors (even the company that owns the blog I served as Editor of and wrote for) who use the term “herbal tea” (you’d expect them to do better, but…). I fuss about it because of all the people I’ve met recently who find tea confusing and even more so with all those herbals mixed in. If we all switched to calling them “infusions” instead, it might help, especially for those who want to avoid the small amount of caffeine in true tea. My two cents’ worth here!
- Discover a new tea room and/or store near where you live and visit it at least once a month.
- Make a list of your favorite tea Websites (and hopefully this blog will continue to be one of them) and visit them at least once a month, commenting on them if you can (it helps them know you’re reading them).
- Hold a tea party once or twice a year with your friends, basing it on a whimsical theme such as celebrating Spring flowers or your favorite sports team acquiring a new player that will lead them to the championship.
- Form a local tea club. One approach might be to have a group of your friends join you in signing up for a tea vendor’s tea club. Then, you can all gather together for each new tea that arrives to enjoy it en masse. Another is for you each to take turns selecting the next tea to try, just as you would do for a book-of-the-month club. This would be a tea-of-the-month.
- Write your own book about tea or in some way related to tea.
Whatever you choose for the New Year, may it last longer than most resolutions do and may it bring more positiviTEA to your life. Happy New Year!
Resolutions are very personal things. Tea resolutions are even more personal, since your approach to tea and what you want from it are things that only you can decide. But I hope this list has gotten your brain started in thinking of what to do. Unlike the commonly made resolutions of losing weight, studying harder, being nicer to people, etc., tea resolutions are goals we set for the New Year in the hope of getting more enjoyment from the tea we drink and ones that, if kept, will yield their own rewards as you increase your appreciation and enjoyment of this wonderful beverage.
Why Do We Make These Resolutions?
There seems to be some deep human need to assign beginnings and endings to things and then to commemorate them. It seems to be related to us being born, living, and dying. New Year’s Resolutions are one way of marking an ending of the old year and the start of a new year. They date back to 153 B.C. when Janus, a mythical 2-faced king of early Rome who could look at the past and the future simultaneously, was used as the name of the first month of the year on the Roman calendar. Resolutions are a start to being better, changing away from behaviors that are self-destructive, and improving our lives. Tea resolutions can do them all.
Whatever you decide to be your tea resolutions (i.e., goals) for the New Year, put your list together while sipping tea so you have the proper inspiration, and be realistic here. Having a resolution to visit every tea garden on the planet might not be achievable, especially if you have school age children or lack the funds for such extensive traveling. I wouldn’t count such a thing out entirely, though. After all, where there’s a will there’s a way.
Happy Tea New Year!
© 2009-2016 A.C. Cargill photos and text