I created this account nearly a year ago, but never posted, never introduced myself, but I'm thinking I should have. I would have saved myself a lot of trouble and a pointless frustrating detour in my tea drinking.
I love tea, I always have really. As far back as I can remember my mother kept a jug of fresh brewed iced tea in our fridge, two in the summer. Straight, no sugar, though with lemons kept in the fridge if you wanted to add a slice. It was just bagged black Lipton's nothing fancy or great. As an adult I never really developed a taste for coffee, and took to hot tea, again with the ubiquitous tea bag.
Last year one day while sitting at my computer with a mug of supermarket bought tea bagged Earl Grey I figured I should see if there was anything better out there. Some search paths later landed me on Tea Class... which I found very very enlightening. That's when I stumbled upon the sister sites, including Tea Chat. I registered this name, but... never got around to posting.
Using Tea Maps I found there were just no tea shops in my area of Northern Illinois where I could start exploring loose leaf teas. I was hesitant to buy over the internet without being able to see or smell what I was getting. There was a shop down in Dekalb, but that was nearly 45 minutes away one way. Still I had friends down there, and the next time I found reason to be down there I stopped in Bab's and Coco's. Wonderful little shop, they were friendly and helpful. Bought a bit of ware and some tea, and soon discovered what I'd been missing out on. Shame that shop was so far away.
Fast forward a few months, it was the holidays, and I was inside my local mall that I really don't ever shop at. You can probably see where this is going. There was a Teavanna. At first I was thrilled that there was a place I could go locally but boy did the shine wear off that apple. Their high pressure sales tactics, even when I walked into the store with with containers for the express purpose of buying tea... was terrible. First couple times the store was kinda crowded so I just let it slide, but when I'm the only one in there and you're trying to shove things in my face get me to agree to something and out the door as fast as possible... *sigh* Still it was here, it was a 10 minute round trip compared to an hour and a half... so I kept going.
Slide time forward to this summer, which has been a scorcher, I was making a lot of iced tea... which since I switched to loose leaf teas became a juggling act involving a variable temp electric kettle I picked up (not from Teavanna their prices for teaware were ridiculous) a mixing bowl, a strainer, a funnel, and an empty plastic one gallon jug. Oh it worked, but I couldn't help thinking there had to be a better way. I thought maybe it is time I get a proper teapot, or some piece of kit to make this easier.
I searched the internets but didn't come up with a whole lot that I found compatible with my bachelor design aesthetics. Okay maybe I'm being silly, but I didn't want anything frilly. I ended up back where my journey began, back to Adagio, looking at their nice, simple, modern, clean, utilitarian glass designs. Still I hesitated, I like to hold things before I buy them, so I made up my mind. Since Adagio was located in Chicago, in my own home state, next time I was passing through I'd stop into one of their shops, and wouldn't you know it I was going over to Michigan on the 4th of July.
After dealing with Teavanna for months walking into Adagio was a pleasure. I was allowed to wander, linger, browse at my own pace. When I did have questions they were happy to help. It was so nice, brought to mind the pleasant experience I had when I first started at Bab's and Coco's. I bought some teaware, a new glass jug for iced tea, the inginuitea XL, and some tea (which was much more reasonably priced than Teavanna) which I've been enjoying.
So here I am, pretty much back where I started, feeling kinda silly because of the long detour I took. I've decided to start ordering samplers from Adagio and other vendors online finally because well, I should have from the start.
I like my tea straight, no milk, no sugar. I like blacks, but haven't found anything I've particularly disliked, though maybe my pallet just hasn't become refined enough yet.
With that long rambling introduction out of the way I raise my glass and yield the floor.