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How do others in your life view/experience your “relationship” with tea?

(friends, significant others, spouses, neighbors, co-workers, etc.)
Do you have any humorous (or otherwise) stories about it?
Do you share it with others (If so, how)?
Is it sometimes a source of irritation with others (or embarrassing)?

I thought I would try to revive this conversation
I’ve heard a few interesting stories already ‘out there’ but I was hoping to stir up a few more.

My partial answer to these questions (I hope to add more later): Only a few people in my life know about it. My wife is pretty accepting of my current passion, as she loved ice tea LONG before I ever came to loose-leaf tea. She usually tries any tea I brew, so she has an opportunity to try the somewhat-fussy green and white teas she would never bother with brewing, let alone buying (She loves most whites, and over time she has come to appreciate the taste of a few green teas). In all my searching for the “good stuff”, I have found a few affordable and very tasty flavored black teas (that’s what she mostly drinks) which we both can appreciate.

One interesting story: when I told a relative I received tea shipped direct from China he joked that the customs officials may think the tea is some kind of illegal drug, so I better be careful or I may have the DEA knocking at my door! Silly, but to a novice some dry green tea leaves could look a little, shall we say, suspicious. I did make some Lapsang for him, and although he rarely drinks tea, I believe he liked it. That’s my favorite tea to showcase as it has such an unusual (and strong) flavor.

New Story: I was drinking a cup of coffee at school that was offered to me by a staff member—for a special occasion—right before I picked the class up from one of their ‘specials’, I explained to the students in the front of the line that some people may think me a traitor for drinking coffee, and I lowered my voice, and said, “So don’t tell!” And not a moment later, a student at the end of the line whom just saw me holding my coffee (and did not hear the aforementioned conversation) guffawed then said, “Mr. < last name withheld to protect the innocent >! I though you liked tea!” I grinned sheepishly and told her what I told the others. At least it’s touching they know how important tea is to me!

Anyway, … enough for now.

The beauty about asking so many questions in one thread: you can choose to answer as many or as few as you’d like!

93 Replies
K S said

My wife shows up at my office today and walked in just in time to catch me deeply sniffing an empty pot full of wet leaves. She said, “I’m not even going to ask.” Pretty well sums up family attitude.

LOL What a great way to sum it all up in so few words (I need to develop that skill). I have to check myself when I pick out a beautiful bud set from the wet leaves and want to show it to others, saying, “Isn’t that sooooo beautiful?!” (I do it with my wife every now and then. She bears it. She’s great!), but I fear the look of ‘insane/weirdo’ if I do it to anyone else. Beauty’s in the ‘eye of the beholder’ (or the ‘nose of the inhaler’, as in your case).

MaddHatter said

LOL, the irony in this is that I was “the wife” in this scinario a few years ago. My brother had just fallen in love with teas and when I would visit he would get the raised eyebrow over the top of my glasses look. To which he would say: “Oh shut up and finish your tea!”

Now it is my Husband who gives the weird looks when he is dragged into DAVIDs or Muchies and I smell a new leaf and my eyes roll back in bliss… He scoffs and says: “Tetley is just as good” and walks away.

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Well, anyone who knows me at all knows of my passion for tea (especially since I used to own a company).

It is an endless source of teasing from my family, because while they do know about my passion for tea, they don’t necessarily understand why I love it so much. But, even though they do tease, it is harmless, and they do support my adoration for tea. They sometimes think it’s weird how excited I get over the smell of tea leaves, or simply receiving tea in the mail or just going into a tea shop. They don’t “get it” but they accept it.

Getting tea in the mail is sooooo fun! I recently had a friend get a fairly large box in the mail, and I commented, “Oh, that reminds me of getting tea!” He looked at me with a somewhat confused expression and said, “The boxes you get are THAT big?” I just smiled, sheepishly.

I think most who know I drink tea also accept “it,” even if they don’t “get it.” After all, there’s many things I don’t “get” about others, and so I do my best to at least accept that what they value is important to them (even if it isn’t to me). Anyway, my accepting them usually leads to their accepting me. OK, I’m rambling. …

I hope the endless source of teasing is fun for you. I try to make it as fun as I can by teasing myself as often as possible (that often redirects uncomfortable feelings, too). For example, the day after I made a few unplanned purchases on-line (totaling $150 USD) my wife was in the room and as I approached my desktop I said in a stern, officious voice, “Step A-WAY from the computer”. We both laugh. After all, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, what are we doing here anyway? I say this because I tend to take myself a little too seriously sometimes.

Thanks for responding. :)

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Excelsior said

Since my wife has the whole Japanese Tea Ceremony credentials and understands the value of teas, it makes my life real easy. If I say, "i’m going to spend $300+ dollars on some FF Darjeeling teas, " her simple reply would be “Ok.” She can taste the difference between a really good Darjeeling, and a great Darjeeling. She makes me a cup of great green tea in the morning, I make her a cup of great Darjeeling in the evening. After especially greasy meals, then I reach for the Oolongs for both of us to drink.

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MegWesley said

My family gets my tea habit better than they understand my fountain pen habit. They just think I’m growing up more. My boyfriend likes my tea habit and has been developing a small one of his own. My friends think I’m weird, but by now they just understand that I am who I am. One of my friends is into tea too. We are rooming this year and we are going to indulge together.

MaddHatter said


I had a co-worker (same name, same height, same hair colour, same affinity for purple clothes) and when we started working at the same site for morning care, finding we love tea too was DANGEROUS!

When she went looking for a room/roommate for September, the first person she was “sold on” liked purple, and not only has an affinity for “cute tea cups” but loves tea too! They are coming to visit me during the Victoria BC Tea Fest in February!

Husbands in trouble…!

MegWesley said

That should be a really fun visit! I wonder if there is any tea that steeps up to a deep purple shade? That would be fun for you two.

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Let’s see. Mum thinks it stains my teeth and messes with my hormones. Dad indulges me, occasionally drinking whatever I choose to steep.
My friends look at me strangely, and tolerate a few words about tea here and there… but once someone knows I am “that” obssessed, anything tea related tends to get a bemused and distant nod.
I do have one friend who is into tea but has such odd tastes that I can’t even relate (He steeps it until it’s gone super bitter, and cold. I don’t get it!) and the tea I love, he generally dislikes. It frustrates me because I feel as if we should be able to talk about it, but just can’t! -it doesn’t help that he states opinion as fact, regardless of others.
I digress…
My other good friend who tolerates my tea habit has agreed to try one tea per month. Considering he hates tea, and loooooooves coffee, for him, that is huge!! I’m making him try Jungle Ju Ju next… I have this fantasy that it will turn into his gateway tea haha

Uniquity said

My one tea-loving friend is like yours…steeps forever then drinks it cold. I can’t abide tea his way. We have such different tastes that it can be very hard to share a pot, but he will have tea with me occasionally.

ah, so he isn’t alone! is your friend Vietnamese by chance? I was wondering if that might have something to do with his preference.

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My wife rolled her eyes a bit at first…but then she tasted something, I forget what, and it was all over for her. It quickly turned into a massive collection of her teas, my teas, and our teas.

At first, my mother in law mocked me for it, but she can be a good sport about it sometimes, willing to try whatever I’ve got in the fridge. My father in law is just eager to try anything new.

My mother tries to be supportive, but really just doesn’t understand it at all. And she is utterly terrified that some customs agent is going to pound down my door, convinced that the tea being shipped to me is pot. >.s name is David!). He was blown away by the gift, he loved it. Bragged about it and everything. We had stopped in to stay the night at his place on the way home from Tennessee. We only live about an hour and a half away from him, and by the time we got home the next day, he and his fiancee had already put together a $115 order with DavidsTea. It cracked me up and really makes me happy that this is something we can share, that we can message each other out of the blue and have a really good conversation about tea.

LOL that is the third time today I’ve read about tea mistaken for weed :P
Your brother loved the tea, so when is he getting his butt onto Steepster! Tell him to hurry up :)

Uniquity said

Ugh…I’ve been trying to get my brothers hooked, but they’re all so young that they’re willing to try but don’t really enjoy. The 11 year old will try anything I make, but rarely really enjoys it so I’m always on the lookout for one I think he will enjoy when I visit with him.

MaddHatter said

I think my brother is excited about the fact that I enjoy loose leaf now! When we do find time to get together, I don’t roll my eyes anymore … Well maybe to tease, a little.

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I am absolutely loving all of these stories; I feel honored to be given these small glimpses into your tea lives.

I’ll offer up another one.

A few of my nieces and nephews know I drink lots of tea. I recently told the youngest how it makes you need to use the restroom a lot. So now when we’re all playing together and I get up and head to the restroom, they look at me questioningly, (especially if I just went 15 minutes ago), and I simply say, “You know me?!” and then the youngest one perks up and says, “Uh, huh. Drink tea, gotta pee!”

It also makes watching movies at home interesting. When I have been drinking tea all night, I literally have to go every 15 minutes, to the point that I can almost set my watch by it. Luckily, I don’t go out to the movies very often anymore (way too expensive). And, my wife is patient. :)

MaddHatter said

Awe, irony for me is that I switched from coffee to tea, and man I had no idea who much coffee had me racing to the washroom, now – not so much, weird.

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Angrboda said

My family has come around to the fact that I prefer tea over coffee. Or rather, my aunt has. She did do her fair bit of teasing earlier, and as she has a small tendency to play pranks once in a while, it did get slightly annoying. Like when she bought a box of the cheapest most horrid teabags she could find, cut them all up and emptied them into a different bag and tried to pass it off as a super-special very expensive tea. I thought it was odd at the time that it was so special and there still wasn’t any info about it, but I trusted her so I didn’t cotton on and tried desperately to find something polite to say about it other than the fact that it was really bland and asphalted my cup on the inside with tannins. Yeah, naive of me, I know.

Anyway, they’ve got used to it, I think especially after they’ve figured out that I’ll still drink whichever cheap bag they give me without protesting and am not expecting them to go out and buy something ‘proper’.

My father is an entirely different story. He hates tea. Hates it. He’s got the same relationship with it that I’ve got with beer. The most vile substance on the planet. Even getting some on the fingers is cause for immediate handwashing.

He is, however, into whisky. We may not like each other’s beverage of interest but we totally understand each other. He’s the one who taught me the very simple truth about detecting notes of this and that in the cup. “If one person can taste it, then it’s there. It doesn’t matter if everybody else can’t find it, because they can’t taste with his tongue. Flavour is not something that can be discussed, debated or compromised upon.”

My mother likes tea but she doesn’t have it a lot and she’s perfectly fine with whatever supermarket brands are available. I find it ironic and amusing that my dad, who absolutely abhors the stuff, is the one to keep nagging me about bringing some tea up that I can have when I’m there, but that’s the whisky enthusiast in him again. He’s fine giving it to my mother because she doesn’t care, but it bothers him to give it to me when he knows it’s not to my actual taste.

The boyfriend, well, he deals with it. When I met him he had teabags and was dismayed that you just can’t get Twinings bagged LS here. Or any other brand of LS in bags in supermarkets. He used to bring some home with him every time he had been in the UK. I proceeded to introduce him to A C Perch’s and the world of loose leaf. These days he only have teabags at work and had even amassed a small collection of his own when we moved in together. He teases me a little about it, but mostly in the ’you’ll need more tins’ or ’we’ll need a new shelf’ kind of way. Purchase-wise, we have separate accounts so I can pretty much do whatever I want with my money. Like he does with his. (He’s far more likely to mock me after an Amazon-avaganza order and piles of new books start to arrive…)

Uniquity said

When I visit my family (cousins or grandmother) I frequently get comments about how I’ll have to settle for their cheap teabags as they don’t have fancy tea. It usually makes me pretty sad, mostly because I don’t like the implication that I’m such a snob.

Angrboda said

I agree! I spend a lot of energy pointing out that I’ve never rejected something and always readily taken whatever I was offered. I don’t have special expectations.

(On the flip side, it’s this sort of behaviour that made me go 1½ years before gathering up the courage to inform the boyfriend that I don’t actually like celery. At all.)

Uniquity said

I have teabags at home…I drink them, on occasion. At family’s I drink what is there or bring my own and share. But they’re allowed to go on about their freshly ground hazelnut coffee? : )

Angrboda said

Okay, mine don’t go so far as to drink fancy pants coffee. :) Initially though, I found explaining why it was interesting easier by comparing to people who are interested in red wine. Nobody thinks their interest is odd because it’s more common than tea, but it’s a very similar one.

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Dorothy said

My husband and I started drinking loose leaf at the same time, but I’m a lot more obsessed with it. He doesn’t really have a palate for the finer stuff, but enjoys the fact that I pick out wonderful tea for the house.

Friends and family have yet to make me feel silly about my drink preference. I’ve gifted tea to them before (if I know they drink it) and they appreciate my selections. Really I’ve only met one person that felt oddly about tea, because he always imagined old ladies drinking it out of lil tea cups. :P After serving him tea a few times, I think he’s gotten over that stigma. I think when friends and family accept that tea is just a tasty hot beverage, they become a lot less annoying to talk to.

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DaisyChubb said

Angrboda has a very good point by comparing the love of tea with the love or interest in wines! I’m going to have to use that sometime :)

My boyfriend thinks I’m a little nutso but he’s 100% supportive. Plus I’m slowly converting him. He used to think tea tasted like hot water, but after some Buttered Rum he was a little bit changed!

My problem person is one of my best friends, J. He drinks 4-5 extra large Tim Hortons double doubles a day. (just a note: extra large is NOT as big in Canadian Tims as it is in US Tims, but it’s still a lot of coff-eine haha). He thinks tea is digusting and that I am pretentious because I drink it. To the point of loudly making fun of me. Did I say best friend? Nevermind.

Uniquity said

Canadian Timmies used to have bigger sizes. Not that I drink them, but this is something I noticed a number of years back when I got my semi-annual Apple Cider. God, I love apple cider…

Also, I’m sorry your friend is unsupportive of tea. Maybe his taste buds have been ruined by bad coffee and too much sugar/milk? : )

DaisyChubb said

Don’t tell him that though… yeah I feel bad for people with coffee addictions – because that’s actually what he has. If he doesn’t have them, well, you know: headaches, jitters, just general tiredness. He may be a lost cause when it comes to tea now I think.

Did they really? I wonder why we’re downsized now. Same prices, less coffee? haha

MaddHatter said

You might be on to something! Buttered Rum or even Whisky White might be something that would intrigue my husband

DaisyChubb said

For sure Erin – if they can taste something intriguing that tricks them into not tasting what their idea of “tea” is, I think they can be changed! One cuppat a time haha

MaddHatter said

Hubby actually enjoyed the Vanilla Oolong I steeped for him tonight, he didn’t like the second steep, but I am not complaining, we’re getting somewhere!

DaisyChubb said

Nice! may I say, Congratulations :D

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