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Drinks & Eats

Tea Makes It Work

Busy, but always with tea!
Busy, but always with tea!
Find a moment to relax with your favorite cup!
Find a moment to relax with your favorite cup!

“Make it work.”


As long as Tim Gunn was around to bequeath it unto frantic contestants on Project Runway, “Make it work,” was the anthem of undergrad Millennials everywhere.

It was too appropriate. How else we were supposed to encapsulate the feeling of, “This project/paper/exam/outfit/semester/makeup/dinner/karaoke/relationship/life is not going the way it’s supposed to. What’s the only way out of this?”

And often, there is no way out. What then has to be discovered is that, instead, we must finagle the various ways under, over, around, to, from, and through our current obstacle. (Assuming that we are not equipped with time-travel powers to sort of circumvent it in an alternate-universe pattern… Alright, back to the topic.)

The point was, you had to work to make things happen. For better, worse, or otherwise.

It became apparent, as we matured, that “Make it work,” wasn’t just for the awkward duckling phase of undergrad. We had to make things work for life.

This is where I gave up and learned to recognize these work moments. Each one of them had a purpose and flavor— which meant that I had to find the right tea for all of them.

Busy Work

This kind of work is easy to do with music in the background; a nice lo-fi beat that keeps you in just enough of a rhythm to tap out whatever less-than-arduous task needs to be completed. BusyEmails, filing papers, taking care of messages, tidying an unfortunate closet— anything that requires most of your sensibilities but won’t tax them too hard.

For work like this, I’m a big fan of a robust Chinese black. Golden Monkey is always a good one, since it has that playful little lilt of brass on the end, right when you think you’re getting a totally smooth cup. If you’re a coffee drinker, it’s a suitable substitute for the flavor, even if it lacks the roasted caffeine punch. You can do this one with any kind of milk you like— even coconut! It also has potential for the Bulletproof variant of your morning kick in the rear, which is an extra bonus if you reeeeeallly don’t relish the busy-busy chores you must get to.

Body Work

Whether it’s yoga, dance, lifting absurdly heavy things at the gym and letting them crash into bumper plates: no matter what form of movement— or, if you’re into planking, unmovement— then all of this qualifies as working on and for your body. And dang skippy does it deserve to be treated like the awesome engine that it is!

These kind of challenges present themselves with the opportunity for greener pastures: namely, Sencha. For years, this tea was one of the few beings that could roust me from a warm bed and give me the courage to get downstairs and do pushups before my more delicate sensibilities had time to kick in and protest. Green tea is filled with the right kinds of polyphenols and antioxidants to make you feel great about whatever task you’re approaching, and working out is definitely a worthy task to be motivated for! Plus, it may improve your cardio. Extra benefits!

Brain Work

The kind of stuff that makes you grit your teeth and want to bang your head against the keyboard? Brain work, my bro. I’m talking calculus, taxes, balancing a checkbook, and trying to figure out how to invite all your relatives to Thanksgiving without triggering the Apocalypse. (Quantum or particle physics included.)

Oolong is the way to go on this one. You need the steadiness of the black tea, along with the get-’er-done energy boost of the green. I’d be partial to a cup of Blackberry Sage Oolong right now. Not only do you reap all the benefits of the camellia sinesis plant, but have you heard about the wonderful things that sage can do for your brain ? It would blow your mind. Pun unintended, but I’ll let you have that one and enjoy it.

Heart Work

Sometimes, it’s not all about bouncing around, getting the job done at all costs. Sometimes you have to sit softly for a little bit. Do the inward-listening thing. Let yourself be for a while.

Don’t move. Stay right there, and I’ll get you a cup of Honeybush Chocolate . It’s perfect for slow, stolen moments that you have all to yourself— and most deservedly. Enjoy the richness of the chocolate and the sweet aftertaste of the honeybush, reminding you that things are ok here, right now, and for the next few minutes as long as you have them.

As with all my pairings, these teas are meant as delightful suggestions, not necessarily the pinnacle of multisensory experiences. I invite you to build your own list of work teas, in the hopes that you’ll have your own set of fall-back-ons when life looks you over its posh spectacles, cracks an eyebrow, and murmurs without indulgence: “Make it work.”