tea vs. coffeeThe entries in my summer diary include baby’s first steps, California home state reunion, and an entire summer fling with coffee.  This summer I strayed far from my sweet Camellia and fell to the quick rush of the brown bean.  I tried it hot, iced, in the form of an espresso, with creamer, and in too many soy lattes to recount. 

This wasn’t something that happened overnight.  It was more of a gradual enticement.  It began with me, an exhausted mom, waking up in the morning to a house full of the aroma.  Tea drinkers, you can’t deny there is something intoxicating about the smell of coffee – a rich and pungent force that fills your entire nasal cavity.
Yes, a good aromatic tea can fill the room and enliven the senses, but not the way the bean can.  Once the aroma drew me in and I sipped on the black gold, there was a sudden jolt of energy that got my day kickstarted.  Then I’d crash and that’s when the addiction came in.  I wanted to feel that surge of energy, so I’d drink another cup.  It was a cycle fit for an addict.  I needed it and it satisfied my desire. 

This is a confession that is painful for me.  There is shame for me in the admission of my addiction.  I used to convert addicts like myself for a living!  My phone number ended in 911.  I was the one to call with a tea emergency.  You had a coffee habit?  No problem, I could talk you out of grinding those beans and sell you on the leaf instead.

I sold sustained energy – tea.  I sold the ability to finish a cup without shaking hands, without heart palpitations, and without eyes open so wide you scare children walking by.  You’ve all seen the local baristas running around at 6:00 AM with jittery hands, the eyes, and the smell of coffee on their breath.  No offense if you or your loved one is a barista, but many do fit my stereotype.  I know I did.  I was that person with the big eyes and the heart that wanted to jump out of my chest.

But I am no longer that addict.  I have regained my will power and am back on the leaf!  It was osthmanthus silver needle that brought me back to sanity.  It was the divine warmth and rosy glow the needles gave me.  The intoxicating aroma of osthmanthus blossoms drew me in before I even had a sip.  Their sweet and rich nectar balanced the natural sweetness and slight grassy note in the silver needle.  Together they saved me.  They saved me from the wretched hold of the bean, a hold I wish never to feel again.