Now for my last rationing category, tea. As I’ve said before, this was the hardest category to keep within coupons for, especially since I set them so low. The good news is that after this I must admit painful readjustment, and even though I don’t have any coupons left, I will have plenty of tea to see me through 2014. I’ve been pacing the drinking of my favorites with using up some of my older, not so favorites, and it’s been ok. I miss wanton tea buying! I do. It’s wasteful and I don’t have the funds or room for it but I miss it. I love my small, careful wardrobe and natural handmade toiletries, but I literally dream of placing a $100 order with Harney and Sons several times a month! I look at the web sites of tea companies longingly, more often than I care to admit. I even stare at the tea shelf in Whole Foods before sadly walking away with my head down. This must be what gamblers, smokers, and heroin addicts feel like. Hello, I’m Jacqueline Manni, and I’m a teaholic. It will get better with time!
What have I learned this year? The most valuable lesson I learned is that I placed too great an emphasis on variety in the past years. When it boils (ha! tea humor) down to it, I like to drink Earl Grey and a good Chinese black or two at work, with two or three “extras” depending on the time of year (such as a dark oolong in the winter, or Tie Guan Yin in spring) and my mood (when I’m feeling especially old-fashioned I love a rose tea!). At home I love a Lady Grey, a Vanilla tea, a light black (like Ceylon) and a strong black (like English breakfast), all which I drink with milk and sugar. I also love a rooibos chai for late nights, and an herbal or two for caffeine free warmth or when I’m sick. Throw in a “gotta try it!” (oh how I want to try the Harney and Sons Capri blend — lemon and fig. Cry.) or “best of the season” (Darjeeling, I’m looking at you. Holiday blend, I’m looking at you too!) or two and I rest at 15 tins of tea in work and home cupboards at one time as an ideal. I could never figure this number out to my satisfaction when I was actively buying loads of tea, but finally, finally, I feel like I have a handle on it. Thank you, rationing project! You are hard, but you are just.
I’m not near that magical 15 tins of tea yet.
Consequently, another year of tighter than WWII level rationing is necessary. I am going to give myself 30 coupons — 1 coupon = 2 oz tea — in 2015. This is tripled from last year, but a little more than half of the wartime ration of 52 coupons a year. This coupon plan will help me drink through my stash yet keep me in my core tea loves and some extras with planning (and discipline!)! I am so not strong enough yet to keep on the wagon without help!
One other important thing that I learned this year is that there is plastic in most tea bags! Yes, even the ones that look like they are just paper (as opposed to the silken sachets which are way, way plastic). I don’t have many tea bags, but I did buy two boxes of bags this year to tide me over with vanilla tea and herbal tea. No. No more. It infuriates me that they even put plastic in TEA BAGS! It’s bad enough that half the time they cover innocent boxes in it, and then there is another plastic bag inside sometimes, but egads — it’s even in part of the bag that you submerge in hot water and ingest. Wrong, on so many levels. Not participating in the tea bag buying anymore. Loose leaf tastes better anyway 🙂