I’m addicted to the way coffee smells like home and how it punishes my impatience by burning my
tongue. I drink on average, three to four cups of coffee a day. I take it smooth with a generous pour of cream and a spoon (or three) of sugar.
As a writer and a procrastinator, caffeine is a requisite.
Coffee is and has been an integral part of my adult life—it fueled my late nights studying in college, my 4 a.m. essay writing and the quiet afternoons in the library. And now, as I work full-time, coffee is the string that holds up my wrists as I stare down Excel spreadsheets, attend meetings and run from deadlines.
Knowing that I like my coffee at the consistency of syrup, for a while I tried to like tea. Tea-drinkers always seemed so ‘zen’ and healthy (it had something to do with staying hydrated and not drinking sugar packets). But, tea bags didn’t do it for me. Pre-packaged teas aren’t sexier than a vanilla latte or as tantalizing as hazelnut coffee cream.
However, at the insistence of my worried husband—who keeps saying something about early-onset Type II Diabetes—I decide to put down my coffee and venture into loose-leaf tea.
As I come to learn, I don’t know much beyond the realm of coffee makers. Unlike coffee, loose-leaf tea is delicate, complex and cannot be made at the push of a button. Tea leaves are sensitive to temperature, have separate seeping instructions and, as a result, require a little bit more attention.
On my first day, I trade my coffee maker for a portable tea infuser, and with that exchange, I take
my first step toward ‘tea-inspired living’ in the break room at work. As I awkwardly pinch at the
Rose Grey leaves in the container, tiny pieces fall out and litter the cold laminate countertop. After I successfully blow away what seems to be hundreds of wasted, tiny tea crumbs, I fill the cup with
hot water and wait.
Honestly, I don’t expect much to happen. I assume that this will be another one of those things that I get excited about and then forget after a few days or so. I passively survey the glass and watch the tea stain the water a warm hue.
Of course it isn’t as sweet as my typical sugary-caffeine concoction, but I find that Rose Grey from Far Leaves Tea (their premium version of traditional Earl Grey with added lovely rose petals) is surprisingly delicious. The taste is cozy and inviting, yet elegant and complex. The aroma reminds me of something that I can’t quite articulate, an indistinguishable memory. A coworker laughs as she catches me staring out the window.
As a coffee drinker, I am acclimated to the jittery lifestyle, the caffeine-induced headaches and the
inevitable afternoon crash. Anticipating this, there is no familiar surge in energy, nor the expected
drop in mood. My thoughts are clear and I feel alert. All day. It is bizarre.
I begin my days with this new morning ritual. Not only do I begin to appreciate the slower, softer
release of caffeine tea provides, I begin to fall in love with the experience of it.
By nature, tea compels me to create room in my day in order to slow down, appreciate and
experience it. And while that can be frustrating at times for my hurried disposition, it gives me the
opportunity to pause and reflect and enjoy.
This is a coffee-addict’s first step toward tea inspired living. Follow me every month as I explore
the facets of loose-leaf tea and realize unexpected and wonderful things along the way.
About the writer
Heidi Dixon Kwon was born and raised in the Bay Area, and currently resides in northwestern PA with her husband, Daniel, and their bug-eyed Boston terrier. She received her BA in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of California San Diego in 2013. As a nostalgist and a daydreamer, Heidi writes as a hobby and for her sanity. She is a contributing writer for Thryve Magazine, an editor for LA-based Inheritance Magazine and the blogger for Far Leaves Tea. Heidi is a sweet coffee addict taking her baby steps toward tea-inspired living.