January 2012 Issue
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New Year's Resolutions: More Tea!

by Christine Banks

Happy New Year!

I am not big on New Yearís resolutions. Maybe itís because everyone else is doing them this time of year, or maybe itís because I donít want to set up myself up for disappointment so early in a fresh, new year. I enjoy seeing the year as full of potential, even after January (which is about at long as most New Yearís resolutions last).

A lot of resolutions also tend to be focused on things not to do anymore Ė quit smoking, donít eat junk food Ė or point out personal failings, like being disorganized or unable to manage your time well. While itís always worth making changes in your life, why not focus on things you want to do more of?

For instance, drink more tea! Itís always a worthy resolution, especially if one of your other resolutions is to lose weight. Replacing sugary beverages with unsweetened teas can cut a lot of calories, and tea is full of antioxidants and can help support your immune system.

But what should you resolve if youíre already a tea drinker? I find that I sometimes fall into a ďtea rutĒ Ė Iíll get stuck on oolongs for a while, sometimes greens. Often itís the same few teas I cycle through. This year Iíd like to mix it up a little more; while I obviously enjoy those teas I keep coming back to, I want to keep the variety in my tea drinking this year.

How to do that? Resolve to try at least one new tea each month. I started this in December, actually, trying my first Kenyan black tea. Iím keeping my eye out for new and interesting teas to try, but Iím also consciously looking for teas to try that are out of my comfort zone. While I wonít be drinking coconut flavored tea any time soon (Iím certain I donít like it), I realized that I donít have any pu erh in my tea stash, and it rarely comes to mind when Iím trying to figure out what Iím in the mood for. Whatís stopping me? Itís a new year full of opportunities to incorporate new things. Planning to try something new is the best way to make sure it happens and avoid the rut.

On the other hand, Iíve also been thinking of spending some time focusing on one particular tea. For you, maybe itís trying a number of types of senchas and tasting the differences in flavor, or steeping different flushes of Darjeeling to learn what makes them distinct. Perhaps itís steeping one tea in different ways Ė try cold brewing, or even just having a new tea iced. Use it as an opportunity to learn more about tea and engage with it on a different level.

So do something unusual with your tea this year, whether itís to change what youíre drinking or use it differently (baking with tea anyone? I have my eye on matcha cupcakes). Have you made any tea resolutions for 2012?