Avery Beach 1964 001It is with mixed feelings that I become the managing editor of T-Ching.  On the one hand, I’m delighted and excited; on the other hand, I fill big shoes:  Erika Cilengir has done a terrific job building the site to the number one tea blog.  I’d be lying if I said I was equal to Erika’s little finger when it comes down to it.

I’ve been writing for T-Ching almost since the beginning.  As a high school English teacher, I was first attracted to T-Ching’s Poetry Fridays.   Each Friday, a poem about tea was the featured post.  You can find my first effort here.  The poem I’m most proud of is here.  The beauty of poetry, as I’ve been telling my students for a quarter of  a century, is that the product doesn’t have to be very good to still be labeled a poem.

My personal tea journey is like many others:  as a child of the 50’s and 60’s, tea came in bags, tea cups were collected – not used, and the water was drawn from the tap and boiled in a whistling tea kettle.  Tea drinking was irrevocably associated with gossip:  Mother would have me pour a cup of coffee from an electric percolator for her, make a cup of tea for the neighbor lady, and dismiss me with, “We are going to talk grown-up talk now.  You go play.”

In the 70’s, tea was associated with folk-singing, hanging out with masses of the unwashed and protesting something,   During the 80’s and 90’s, tea was what I drank in the evening when I didn’t want caffeine disturbing my sleep.  It took a rapid education in the new millennium for me to learn that those brews of the 70’s, 80’s. and 90’s were tisanes – herbs of every stripe except camellia sinensis/assamica.

Entering my sixth decade, a racing and irregular heart made me reconsider my espresso habit.  I drank just the one four ounce cup most days, but it was Italian espresso roast prepared in a stove-top vessel.  The resulting brew was black as roofing tar and almost the same viscous consistency.  Don’t ask how many milligrams of caffeine were contained in that brew.   However, if it was listed as the diastolic pressure on your blood pressure reading, you’d be rushed to the ER as a stroke watch.  The caffeine wasn’t doing my already overworked heart any good, so I switched, kicking and screaming . . . and yawning, to tea.   

 My first love was oolong.  I loved the rolled up little rocks, I loved the greenish leaves and I loved the golden browns.  I love Jasmine Pearls after a meal.  My morning brew is usually Yunnan Golden Bud or Hatialli Golden Lion.  Currently, I am enjoying Arya Ruby, which has an exquisite, almost Keemun-like flavor.

The strengths I bring to T-Ching are strong editing and organizational skills and a genuine love of tea.  Please contact me [email protected] if you’d like to contribute to the most-read blog about tea on the world-wide-web.

 Featured image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici of freedigitalphotos.net/

Image 1 provided by the author