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12 March 2014

Traumatized by Tea ● by Jess

One thing I've definitely learned since moving here: Brits love their tea -- like love, love their tea. They drink it all day, everyday-- it is clearly the national beverage of choice.

This would be much more exciting if I hadn't vowed to hate tea forever when I was fourteen...

Roll back the clock to over a decade ago, and you'd find me on a week-long class trip to Moab, Utah. 

My friends and I, with our too-cool-for-the-closer-outhouse puerility, managed to lock ourselves in a handicapped toilet on the far side of the campground. Yes, it gets better... We locked ourselves in there because we'd been chased into it by a drunk-- who proceeded to circle the shack for several hours. It was traumatizing... And, we were quite certain we would die.

Eventually, our teachers found us and (I'm sure with their eyes rolling) ushered us back to camp.  Being somewhat hysterical tweens, we were definitely in need of something calming.... Enter chamomile tea.

With such frayed nerves, I had expected something earthy and sweet-- something that was warm and golden and soothing. 

However, what came from that mug was the single-most vile thing I had ever tasted. What the heck TEA??! I barely made it out of the tent before spraying it back on the hellscape that had, not only held me captive in an outhouse for several hours, but had actually produced a cup of liquified nightmares for comfort. I was then certain that my future would forever remain tea-less.   

The thing is, if you've been raised as a devout Mormon, their are certain flavors that you never experience and thereby never develop an appreciate for. Basically all these flavors are in the bitter realm-- things like coffee, green tea, alcohol. They just never find their way to the palate. 

Instead, we [Mormons] overcompensate for this by making all of our vices unduly sweet. My childhood, like many a LDS youth, was filled with several dishes of *ahem* dubious nutritional value-- things like a frothy concoction of jello and cool-whip, something that my parents actually called a "salad" and fed us for dinner. Its mildly horrifying, but true, and it's probably the reason Jon and I can barely go a week without chocolate. 

Fortunately, where tea is concerned, Britannia has an answer! 

Shortly after moving here, someone introduced me to the Elderberry. I'm still quite puzzled as to why mainstream America has yet to discover this little guy, because let me tell you, it packs a very sweet punch. It does have a slightly different flavor, but it is delicious enough to make a girl wonder why anyone would opt for Earl Grey when they could have Elderberry?

Since this discovery, tea has actually become quite a normal and pleasant afternoon ritual. My favorite is a cup of Raspberry-Elderberry with a spoonful of agave. It is glorious! (though if I'm being honest, it is basically one step away from being juice). Pair that little cup of heaven with the *amazing* shortbread they've got here and somehow, it all makes me a feel just a bit more authentic, and ever so slightly more British.


  1. Raspberry tea is one of my absolute favourites (although I do love all kinds of tea). The ironic thing though is that the best raspberry tea I've ever had is nowhere to be found in Britain. Sigh.

    1. Ooo... where did you have "the best"? I'm super intrigued!

  2. I love finding Mormon bloggers! I don't drink tea but I like drinking hot water with melted honey and cinnamon. Mmm... it's my favorite!