Building a tea collection is not a complicated venture, but there are a few things that need to be kept in mind in order to build a collection that offers joy and satisfaction over the long term. In part 2 of 5 below, we will discuss the second “rule” of tea collecting, collecting only what you like to drink.
While collecting what you like to drink may seem like obvious advice at first, it is nonetheless advice that is rarely heeded. In the modern tea market, so called “experts” espouse what they consider to be excellent teas, while looking down on all of those who disagree with them. People who take the advice of these “experts” may end up buying only what said experts recommend and not what they would end up enjoying the most. What is often forgotten is that the number one goal in drinking tea is enjoyment. With that said, the tea you drink should be the tea that you enjoy the most. In fact, little else matters. Your tastes and preferences are the only measure of what teas you should be buying and drinking. Period.
There are many misconceptions in the world of tea as to what exactly constitutes a “good” tea. Bloggers and businesses will say that the teas that have the most recognition (and often the highest price tags) are the best teas to drink. These bloggers and businesses are on the side of pretentious and seem to miss the big picture. That big picture is that tea should be enjoyable. If you know that you can’t stand a certain tea, never let any so-called experts talk you into drinking it. This is especially important when building a tea collection.
At its most basic level, a tea collection is a stash of tea suited to the tastes of the tea drinker. The tea drinker builds and refines his or her collection over time and cultivates a selection of teas that increasingly provide joy. Looking at the collection of any given tea drinker should be able to provide an accurate picture of that tea drinker’s preferences and tastes. Seeing as the goal of a tea collection is personal satisfaction, building a collection around the tastes of others is pointless.
While not giving in to the opinions of others is vitally important, it is equally important to branch out and try new things when it comes to tea. If you know you love Earl Grey teas but haven’t had much experience with teas outside of the Earl Grey category, your collection will quickly become monotonous. Of course, if it makes you happy there is nothing wrong with a collection built around only one type of tea, however, most people would prefer a little more variety. In adding variety to your collection, trying to branch out every once in a while to a tea you wouldn’t normally drink is a huge step forward. Branching out without compromising the personality of your tea collection is easy. By only purchasing small quantities of new teas at a time, you can get a feel for an unfamiliar type of tea with a minimum risk and a low investment. By only buying a sample of a new tea, you are spending only a few dollars to find out whether or not it is your “cup of tea.” As an added bonus, with only a few grams of a new tea, there is no pressure to drink all of it if it turns out not to be suited to your tastes. Also, if you don’t like the tea, it won’t end up filling space in your cupboard and you won’t feel bad about throwing out whatever few grams are left in the pouch. At Herbal Republic, we sell our teas in various quantities to fit the needs of any tea drinker. We understand that buying a new tea without first trying it (especially online) can be somewhat nerve wracking as there is no guarantee what you will be getting. With that in mind, we sell our teas both in small and large quantities so those looking to try new teas for the first time aren’t intimidated.
When you do finally end up narrowing in on what teas you love, stock up on them and add them to your collection in bulk. Not only will you save money by purchasing larger quantities of it at a time, but you will also ensure that you have a constant stock of it on hand. Also, having a large stash of your favourite tea on hand allows you to share it liberally among your friends and family and maybe even introduce them to the tea hobby.
All in all, when building a tea collection your own personal preferences must come first and foremost. Giving in to the recommendations of “experts” on what the “best” tea may leave you with a collection of teas you don’t enjoy, or worse yet, that you can’t stand drinking. In the end, the best advice for building a tea collection that makes you happy is buying only what you like to drink. In doing this you will develop and cultivate a collection that accurately reflects your personal tastes and preferences, and serves as a source of enjoyment for years to come.