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Spill It!: My Own Private Tea Party

April 10, 2012


Tell me if you think I have a problem.

Yes. That’s my collection of tea, normally hidden from the view of innocent bystanders.

I’m sorry you had to see that.

In general, I’m a moderation-in-all-things kind of woman, but when it comes to buying tea, I sort of lose it.

Take Whole Foods yesterday, where I spent a ridiculous amount of money falling face forward into their excellent marketing scheme. I went for eggs and sour cream and one box of Mental Clarity tea; I walked out with three containers of tea, Veggie chips, tomatoes from Maine, recycled napkins, too many salad greens, pretzels, yogurt, and forgot the sour cream. (If I never have to go grocery shopping again, I will be very happy.)

I guess I’m hoping to reach nirvana by age 40, which is why I could not pass on the opportunity to try the new and exciting Shantea offered by a guy in a baseball cap near the cash registers.  Apparently, tea is the new wine. Apparently, the herbs in this tea match up perfectly with particular Yogic chakras. Oh, and it’s organic and all that.

It tasted good, and I really like teas that focus on nouns which end in “tion.”

This is what happens. I buy tea in as a kind of remedy for any ailment I might have (fatigue, stress, indigestion, an insistent sweet tooth), and then I enjoy it for a bag or two, and then I find myself at the store buying more, often because the box is pretty and because I have another ailment. (I can’t get over this “I’m only human” thing.)

It’s a little like that post I did about shoes a couple of years ago. In some part of my antioxidant-infused brain, I keep thinking I’ll find The Perfect One.

So bear with me while I introduce you to the stars of my tea party. If nothing else, you’ll get a few good recommendations.

The Republic

I really enjoy The Republic of Tea, though the variety available seems to be dwindling. (They used to sell them at Panera, but the only place I see them now is online and in the Viking Cooking store.)

Orange Ginger Mint is a really weird combination, I know, but you get used to it and it’s great after a meal. (I do not think I can have enough ginger in my life.)



This stuff is very good. It tastes medicinal and surprisingly, still good. DeTox is great right before bed. (Confession: I haven’t yet tried the other two. They are the products of a previous trip to Whole Foods and they sort of got lost in the back of my drawer. But I also really like the Yogi version of Mental Clarity tea.)

The Mighty Leaf



Look at those leaves, baby. I mean, c’mon!

I read a lot about this tea online (rave reviews!) so when I found it in my local supermarket, I snatched it up at $5 a box. The only problem is—and this matters, if you’re going to be a tea connoisseur—is that while the silk sachet is beautiful, the tea travels along the edge and out to the litte tag, leaving some wet drips on your table top. Put it on top of a towel or something.

(Those are words of wisdom that I gained from drinking tea for wisdom.)

Tazo teas


Tazo blends are solidly good teas. You can get them at Starbucks, but you’ll pay $2 for a small paper cup, whereas you can buy a whole box for less than $5 and drink it at home or in the Starbucks parking lot. Or you can do what I do now—take my porcelain cup to work and mooch the hot water from the cafeteria and use my own tea bag.

I think I am becoming a hippie.

(As an aside, I also recommend Zen and Green Ginger, because like I said, Ginger is queen.)

Brits and all the rest

I don’t know what to make of white tea, but I buy it occasionally to keep myself on my toes. That Ginger Pear smells really good (and, of course, contains magic ginger), but I haven’t had any yet. (I know! Can you believe me?) The peppermint got me through the winter (though I think Twinings makes a better peppermint blend than Celestial Seasonings). That yellow box is Lemon and Ginger, and the lemons just sing all the way down your throat. Lady Grey was recommended by an expatriate teacher who moved to England, and she was right. It’s subtle and light and has orange and bergamot. Just let that word roll around in your mouth a bit. Berg-a-mow. Mmm. Finally, the Allegro Afternoon Lift tea (from Whole Foods) does what it says–it satisfies your afternoon sweet tooth so you don’t go rifling through the Easter stash (or the pre-Easter stash, or the chocolate vegetable cookies you bought on your hundred dollar trip to Whole Foods).

And you know what else?

I lied about that being all my tea.

This is the rest of it.

What are drawers for?

And this one I bought at Acme and it sucks.

I really need to host a tea party.


Have a Spill It! post you’d like to share? Write me at with the Subject “Spill It” and you can share your dirty little secrets, even if they’re not about tea.

Also, if you like tea, visit this great tea blog called Lainie Sips, which I found in my tea-venture today.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lainie Petersen April 10, 2012 at 11:09 am

Hey There!

Thanks for the kind shout-out. Tea is a wonderful adventure and I encourage you to keep on exploring!


Joe April 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Like you, I buy tea wherever I go, but I’ve not amassed a collection challenging yours. One tea I found that is delicious comes from China. I think it’s called Puera, although I’ve run out of it and my China source has returned to China.
There is something otherworldly about having teas from all over. And tea drinking is such a delightful addiction!
Thank you for writing about your teas. Next time I’ll share something about all the Ts I own and wear soon to become a comforter!


Kate April 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm

My husbands buys great amounts if tea, but drinks little. I just threw out what looks like your collection before the move, but we still have a whole shelf full. Now it’s the stuff I drink.

Ginger tea. Divine. Peppermint, yum (mighty leaf makes a great one). I also love the standard Earl Grey and oolongs. And camomile. But it’s too hot for tea. Boiling the water does me in.


Jana April 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I do think I bought more over the winter. It’s become my cure for the cold weather. We’ll see what happens in summer. I’d buy less tea if I could do tea samplers instead of buying a whole box that I’m just so-so about.


Vanessa April 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Yogi’s Relax is one of my all time favorite teas. It actually helped me realize tea can be delicious.


Nadine April 11, 2012 at 10:54 am

Loved your post! If you have a problem, I’m in deep trouble, half of my pantry shelves were taken over by tea:-)


dverdeur April 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

There used to be a great shop in Wayne run by an eccentric, well-traveled, knowledgeable woman who had the most wonderful loose teas. She disappeared. I wish I knew where she went. I have never had tea like the tea she sold.


Jana April 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm

There’s a place in Philly called Steap that I’ve been meaning to visit.


Sheila Gregory April 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Yer hilarious! Ya, ya got a problem! But who cares? I love tea too and have an entire cupboard full of the stuff & related paraphernalia. I have the red wine excuse – it’s good for me!


KQD @Roots and Wings April 14, 2012 at 10:46 am

You could make a tea advent calendar/cup a day type gift for your friends


Heather April 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm

The place in Philly called Steap is where the woman from Wayne went when she left Wayne. Steap has a lot of very good loose tea. Jana, I see you and I share a number of favorite teas. Some others I like are the Organic ginger by Tazo (which has some pear notes in it), Numi’s chamomile and Lemon, Numi’s decaf indian black vanilla, and Republic of tea’s coconut macaroon. I *have* to drink decaf, so that limits me (which is frustrating, but probably a good thing for my wallet). TJ’s ginger pear is very good (white tea has the lowest caffeine level of all caffeinated teas, so I sometimes indulge). How is that Yogi cocoa tea? In general I find that teas that shoot for chocolate flavor tend to fall short…


D. Bryant Simmons November 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Hi Jana, I love your blog! I’m gonna camp out here for as long as my daughter lets me. But back to the issue at hand. Your tea addiction. I don’t think it’s that bad. I dated a guy once who had a whole wall of tea. So, that’s like five boxes high and ten boxes long. See, you’re not that bad! By the way, you should try Tazo’s Passion tea. And “I Love Lemon.” And Tazo’s Refresh. Those are my favorites. Even my daughter likes them and she’s just 15 months. On second thought, maybe I’m the one with the problem…


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