Thursday, January 01, 2004

All I want is a decent cup of tea.

For the last, oh, I'd say year or so, every cup of tea I make tastes like shit. Not literally, but it sure doesn't taste as I have come to expect tea to taste.

I have been drinking tea since I was a child. In the summers, my mother used to make mint tea for my sister and I in the afternoons. It came out of the big gold Boston tea tin. We would drink it out of tiny, dainty cups, sweetening it with Domino sugar dots, plucking the cubes from the sugar bowl with elegant silver tongs as we played Casino or Gin.

A little over a year ago, my white sugar consumption was getting out of hand, and I decided to cut out the use of the three heaping teaspoons of the stuff I dumped in my tea three or four times a day. After going through a few days of "withdrawl" I began to enjoy the sharp, dry taste of the tea without the overweening sweetness.

Then we moved to a new apartment, our cat died, and I had a major upheaval at work. Maybe my tastebuds went kaflooey from the stress, kind of like people get that one streak of grey hair after a fright, because this is about the time that I noticed that all the flavor had gone. It may have something to do with the water in this building. We were using a Brita filter, but the water still came out very rusty, so we started using bottled water. Last week I embarked on a "taster's choice" with five different kinds of bottled water, making tea with all of them, trying to find one that would lend itself to making "brisk" tea. Deer Park had the most possiblity, slightly sharp, fairly dry, but still with a slight oily aftertaste. The others are not worth mentioning (Mountain Valley Spring tastes like bathwater!)

Another possibility is the sinus infection I have been struggling with for the past several months. I'm on my second course of antibiotics. My ENT says that I may need another surgery (the second) to "clear out" infected tissue. (I am so afraid to ask if it has something to do with all the stuff I put up there in the 70s and 80s, but that is a subject for another day.) He did say that this infection could affect my taste.

But none of these explanations make the tea taste any better, and that's all I'm really after.

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