When I first started blogging about tea, I was surprised to discover how many other people are out there doing the same thing. Seems I’m not the only one who’s overly obsessed with tea!
Today, I’m posting an interview I did with Lainie Petersen, who posts tea reviews, articles and other tea-related tidbits on her blog, Lainie Sips.
First of all, thanks for taking the time to do the interview! What led you to start blogging about tea?
In March of 2008 I discovered the book “The Ultimate Tea Diet” by Dr Mark Ukra, and as I needed to lose weight, swapped out other beverages for tea, and began using flavored teas to curb cravings.
I was drinking so much tea, and so many different varieties, that I began updating my social media statuses with the name of whatever tea I was drinking. Folks on Twitter and Facebook became interested in my tea-drinking, and started to ask questions about the teas. In self -defense, I began a blog and started to review tea.
Besides blogging about tea, what else do you do?
I am a bivocational priest (a bishop-elect, actually) in the American Apostolic Church (a tiny, independent denomination), and that keeps me pretty busy. (Bivocational means that I need to work a “secular” job to support myself, and I am, in fact, looking for a new job now.) I also love to read, cook, and take very long walks!
When did you first discover how much you like tea? Or did you grow up drinking it?
I liked tea as a kid, but like most Americans, thought of it as something you got when you were sick. I started drinking iced tea (unsweetened) when I got older, but didn’t really get into serious tea drinking until last year.
It’s interesting you mention how you started drinking unsweetened iced tea when you were older. Sweetened bottled iced tea is very popular these days. On the one hand, I guess it promotes tea; but it certainly doesn’t promote a healthy cup of tea. What do you think of the rise of bottled iced tea?
I think it is unfortunate: I don’t have objections to it as an occasional treat, but I do think that it reflects the sweetening of the national palate, which is a very bad thing. We eat, and drink, too much sugar as it is (and in the United States, we drink 20% of our daily calories).
The thing is, good tea often has its own sweetness, but because we are so used to oversweetened foods and drinks, we can’t appreciate it.
You review a pretty big variety of teas on Lainie Sips, from oolongs to black teas to bottle iced tea. Do you have any personal favourites?
I try to vary the teas I review because everyone has different tastes and budgets, though my personal favorites are oolongs, specifically Ti Kuan Yin. Also very fond of Yunnan Golds!
Are there any varieties of tea you just haven’t been able to get used to?
I just can’t get into Long Jing (Dragon Well). I’ve tried, and failed. Just not my thing.
I always love discovering new teas. There’s such an immense variety of teas out there. What’s a great new type of tea you’ve discovered recently?
Dream About Tea, a great Chinese tea shop and importer here where I live, just got an incredible Bao Zhong (aka pouchong) in: Sweet, nutty dry nose that develops into a gorgeous floral tea. Remarkable.
Sounds great! Do you get most of your tea from shops near you, or do you buy a lot of tea online?
I do a bit of shopping at local tea shops, plus many great companies send me samples to review. Sometimes I buy tea online, as well, if they have something I really like/want.
Now, confession time: Do you drink coffee?
I do, and I love the stuff. Unfortunately, I don’t deal with caffeine well, so it is really more of an occasional treat for me.