My name is Lainie Petersen and I am NOT a tea expert. I do, however, enjoy tea, and have amused my friends, work colleagues, and online acquaintances with my ongoing fascination with all things related to the Camellia sinensis (tea) plant. With their encouragement, I decided to start this blog to document my self-education in the world of tea in the fall of 2008, and have been blogging ever since.
I’ve always liked tea, though it has only been recently that I have paid it any attention. As I was growing up, tea was treated in my home as a medicinal beverage: Hot tea with honey was our cure for sore throats and tummy-bugs.
It was a few years ago that I began to consider tea as a “recreational” beverage: I began drinking tea because I enjoyed the flavor, not because I was sick. I have fond memories of the darjeeling served with finger sandwiches, scones, and sweets at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, as well as my first taste of white tea at the Bee Hive Tearoom in Salt Lake City, Utah. .
Over the next few years I tried different teas and made a point of supplying workmates with quality tea (as opposed to the ubiquitous Lipton tea bags in our office kitchen), but didn’t get serious about tea until this past spring.
My seriousness was borne out of my desire to lose weight: Various personal issues and stresses had me hamstrung at a dieting plateau. One day I picked up The Ultimate Tea Diet, by Mark “Dr Tea” Ukra, read the book in one sitting, and said to myself “I can do this!”.
Mark Ukra is the owner of The Tea Garden in Hollywood, California. He is on a one-man mission to convert as many people to drinking tea as possible, mainly because he strongly believes in tea’s health benefits. He particularly believes that tea is a wonderful tool for weight loss.
I began with Dr Tea’s prescription to drink at least 8 cups of tea per day, as well as using flavored teas to curb cravings. The result? I’ve dropped five dress sizes, and while I still have a way to go before meeting my weight loss goals, I am feeling and looking better than I have in years!
But during this process of losing weight, I have also discovered something else: I really, really like tea. For years I have been a great fan of wine because I adore its complexity of flavor. Like wine, tea also has a great complexity of flavor and comes in endless varieties. There is also a wonderful culture surrounding tea and tea drinking (as there is with wine).
(Tea does have the advantage, though, of having virtually no calories and being much less expensive than wine. I love both, but tea does win out as a more affordable hobby!)
Recently, I took a job in one of Adagio Tea’s retail stores, and I am eager to begin working in the tea industry and learning more about this wonderful leaf.