16 Common Struggles Of Tea Lovers

Image via Unsplash/Vee O

Tea: a simple word for a simple substance. Right? Wrong. Those who love tea know that it’s not nearly as simple as it seems. This deceptive, steamy liquid isn’t just a beverage — it’s a lifestyle, whether you want it to be or not. Anyone who loves tea knows that you have to face at least a few, if not all, of the following hardships in your relationship with tea.

1. You have way too much tea.


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You have a special cabinet dedicated to boxes of teabags, canisters of loose-leaf tea and cylindrical containers of different teabags, yet there is still not enough room for all your tea. Every time you start to whittle your collection down, you freak out and start to think you’re going to run out of tea, so you buy four new kinds.

2. You always want to buy more tea.

Even if your collection of tea isn’t dwindling, you still feel a constant, mildly disturbing urge to buy more. “What if your favorite kind of tea is out there waiting for you and you don’t even know it?” your tea-addicted subconscious asks as it forces you to caress every box of tea in the grocery store and make side trips into tea stores, where you attempt to smell everything without anyone noticing.

3. There’s no way to know if you’ll like a certain kind of tea until you buy it.

Unless you’re in an actual tea store that gives out free samples, you have to rely solely on the description of the tea to figure out whether you’ll like it; these descriptions are often utter bullshit. A tea might describe itself as “a light, refreshing Japanese sencha with notes of ripe peach and a hint of refreshing cucumber,” but what it actually tastes like is fruity grass mixed with a tube of cucumber lotion. This leads you back to point #1, in which you have too much tea.

4. There’s too much pressure to be an expert.

You’re always worried that people will sneer at you for not buying the highest-quality, organic first-flush Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe Darjeeling. If you do buy it, you’re worried that they’ll sneer at you for ruining its distinctive muscatel flavor and drowning its delicate floral notes with sugar or milk. There are so many descriptive terms and so many incorrect ways to drink tea that sometimes you think you should give it all up.

5. You feel like an impostor if you’re not a tea purist.

If you can’t look at a tablespoon of loose-leaf tea and immediately ascertain its type and quality based on the bloom, color, fragrance and specific shape of the dried leaves and/or tips, you feel like a complete tea faker who has no business even being in the presence of tea.

6. You have too much tea-related equipment.

Teapots that you don’t actually use, a tea press, mesh tea strainers in various shapes and sizes, mugs, teacups and matching saucers for when you’re feeling traditional, glass cups for when you’re not… it adds up until you realize you need a second cabinet for all your tea paraphernalia.

7. People act offended when you drink coffee.


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“WHAT? Is that coffee? But I thought you drank tea!” they’ll say in a tone that implies you’re violating some sort of Tea Drinkers’ Commandment. They’ll then grill you about your choice of beverage, asking if you’re tired, if you’re feeling OK, if you’ve been replaced by a pod person and when you’re going to go make a cup of tea so they can stop worrying and get on with their life.

8. You wonder if you’re drinking too much sugar.

No, you are not a tea purist; you need some damn sweetener in your tea. But this makes you worry that you’re ingesting too much added sugar. You tell yourself that it’s healthier than drinking juice and way healthier than drinking soda, but you constantly wonder if you should cut down on the sugar. Then you drink some tea with no sugar and remember how disgusting it is.

9. You’re worried that drinking tea makes you look like a pretentious idiot.

You loudly insist that you don’t have delusions of grandeur; you’re not trying to be Dame Maggie Smith here, you just like tea. You don’t ever pretend to be British. You don’t drink tea just for the cachet (of which there is none, anyway). You just like the way it tastes. No one will believe you, of course.

10. You start to wonder what teabags are made out of.

They used to just be paper/cotton, but now they’re all that weird silky mesh, which it turns out is not actually silk; it’s nylon. So you’re basically dipping melting plastic into boiling water every time you use a “silky” pyramid teabag, leading you to paranoiacally research teabag alternatives and BPA.

11. People give you crappy tea that they don’t want.

When other people know that you drink tea, you’ll get a lot of, “Oh, by the way, I got this tea the other day, but I don’t like it… you take it.” If you refuse, they’ll inform you that you drink tea, so you have to take it, and then you’re stuck with eight nearly full boxes of flavors like white chocolate wheatgrass chai that you’ll never drink but can’t bring yourself to just throw away.

12. You hate ordering tea at restaurants because you know you’re paying too much.

Even if you’re only paying $1, it’s still too much. One teabag costs like 10 cents.

13. Seasonal flavors.


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Some tea manufacturers persist in making “seasonal” flavors like apple cider or pumpkin spice tea, resulting in delicious teas that you can only buy for about three months of the year. The worst part is that there’s no reason for them to be seasonal; it’s not like they’re growing pumpkins and squeezing out the juice to make tea. In fact, it’s quite likely that there is no actual pumpkin in that tea, but they make you wait for it anyway.

14. Seasonal flavors that aren’t actually seasonal.

There are a few dastardly tea makers who think it’s fun to promote some products as seasonal items, making you think that you have to scramble to buy this special, limited-edition flavor, only to later be like, “Oops, never mind, it’s available all year round.” Not cool, tea makers.

15. K-Cups (and other kinds of cups).

Single-serve cups for brewing coffee are a great idea, but unless your workplace has two separate Keurig machines, brewing a K-Cup of tea is going to result in tea that has been siphoned through the inner workings of a coffee machine, making it taste like tea that’s been brewed in coffee water.

16. Everyone tells you that you should drink green tea.

Oh, really? Green tea is the healthiest? Is it really? I had no idea; and here I am, drinking black tea like an idiot. The thought of drinking green tea had never, ever crossed my mind. It’s not possible that I just like black tea more — now that I’ve been informed by you that green tea exists, I will make the switch immediately!