While I am writing this, I am drinking a hot, delicious cup of black tea with a touch of milk and three packets of cane sugar.

I am and always have been a tea drinker. While I do enjoy my cup of coffee from time to time, tea has always been the main beverage served in Chinese culture, almost as frequently as coffee in American culture. Tea was always something I drank quite frequently as a child, and even still to this day. I have been known to drink it during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I find coffee and tea both serve different purposes. This is my own hypothesis and no one else’s. But here it goes. Tea serves to calm, and coffee serves to quicken. Let me explain in further detail. Drinking tea is soothing, calming, and allows for ultimate relaxation. Tea is consumed in large quantities, with large amounts of people in an intimate gathering. Coffee, on the contrary, is the complete opposite. It serves a purpose, those that drink coffee need no relaxation or calming qualms. They need caffeine, a jump-start bolt to their day. Coffee serves to awaken, and increase reaction time. Drunken quickly, and consumed early on in the morning, coffee serves to help zombies rehabilitate back to functioning human beings.

Some might inquire how one would and could drink tea. For those virgin to the flavors of tea, it is something quite strange, I must admit. If it isn’t sweet or savory, it has no place in the body, right? Well, not exactly.

To me, a connoisseur of tea, it is quite the opposite. It is the bitterness, the taste of the tanins, and the dark, robust flavor that provides a soothing experience to the tongue and mind. Unlike coffee, which is typically drank for a purpose as it has loads of caffeine to wake a tired mind, tea has always been low in caffeine, so on off days, people have been known to drink six to seven cups in any given day, without the consequences commonly known in coffee. Tea can be drunk hot or cold, sweetened or bitter, strong or weak, but I’m guessing you probably already knew that.

In fact, I love my tea quite bitter. Bitter to the point where my tongue smacks up against the roof of my mouth bitter. Bitter to the point where one might need a sugary confection right after. I also love my tea sweet. At times, I may add up to five spoonfuls, to add a sweet pick me up and provide a glutinous layer of sugar on my tastebuds. I also love my tea smooth and creamy at times. Adding coffee cremer and milk is a great way to do that. It all depends on my mood. Who said drinking tea had to be boring?!

Being Asian-American, I know tea. The popularity of tea is as unibiqious in Asian countries, as coffee is to America. In America, coffee is king, but in China, England and Hong Kong, places known to drink tons of tea, tea is a godsend. As a child, tea provided a delicious break from the world. Unlike coffee which most drank for a purpose, tea provides to do something quite differently. Low on caffeine, containing a bitter aftertaste, and drank while normally warm, tea is an experience. It is best drank alone, and even more amazing when drank with company.

In Asian culture, the act of drinking tea has been so popular that restaurants have even opened up in response to the booming industry. Dim sum, or “yum cha” as I have been saying it my whole life, is a group gathering in which tea is served in porcelain cups, and steamed, small food served in bamboo pots is shared amongst friends and family. Tea brings families together, and it has held true to my family, and still to this day.

I love all types of tea. Bitter, sweet, smooth, rich, clear, black, oolong and green teas, just to name a few. Any way you name it, I have probably drank it. I even like my tea cold at times. It all depends how my mood is at the moment. Mood dictates how I drink my tea at any given time.

While the future may be uncertain, I do know something, tea will always remain the same, and in my lifestyle.

My favorite tea however? Hong Kong style milk tea, of course!

So instead of inviting me to the club and getting drunk, let’s have a sit down, and examine the wondrous bitter, tannins and antioxidants of tea and explore the different taste peripherals.

Tea is life. Or so, I say.

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