Tea time

Posted: February 14, 2015 in Personal, Tea time
Tags: , , , , , ,

In the mid-seventies, I took off between my junior and senior years of college and set out to backpack around Europe.  We started in Ireland, spending a week before heading across the water to England.  In both places, I was introduced for the first time to hot tea, tea so strong that if the pot had been broken and removed, I believe the tea would have stayed together in the shape of the pot.  In order to drink it, my cup had about half milk and half tea. After spending the better part of a year on the continent, I returned to England prior to finally flying regretfully home.  But now I drank my tea straight, something I still do today.

However, for much too long thereafter, the only “tea” I could get was Lipton and I couldn’t really get into that.  So when real tea finally began showing up in the stores, I was thrilled.  Later, when Starbucks pioneered the coffeehouse phenomenon, tea wasn’t far behind and the variety grew and grew.  I learned more and more about tea and began drinking it almost every day.

In the meantime, I finished college, had more adventures, began teaching, go married, had children, homeschooled them through high school, and ran a personal training business (among other work, paid or unpaid.)  Last year, with both our daughters no longer at home for some time, I began to think about looking for a part time job in some area of interest–writing, fitness, or tea.  Less than a month ago, our two daughters and I were in Wheaton, Illinois in a teashop, when I thought I’d ask the owner whether they needed any part time help.  They did and I came home with the now copious paperwork necessary to get a job.

Yesterday marks the end of my first two weeks. A number of you have asked how the job has gone, so here’s my report. My main concern was the register; in reality, a computer.  While there are plenty codes and things still to learn, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it might be.  We sell over 100 teas and becoming familiar with them is one of the biggest things to learn.  Every day I work, I taste teas, looking at the appearance of the dry leaves as well testing the scent of the leaves before brewing, smelling the aroma of the brewed tea and, similar to wine tasting, trying to identify the various flavors, natural or added, tea itself.  Not that this is an onerous task, but as we all want to be on the same page as to what we tell customers, there’s a lot to learn and I’ll be working at this aspect for a long time.

We also sell lots of tea-related products: teapots, infusers, cups, kitchen items, jams, scone mixes, spoon rests (or places to put the infusers so they don’t drip on the counter or stove), and so forth.  Of course, we also sell baked goods to go with the teas as well as bagged tea.  And that’s just in the shop itself.  The back room is an entirely different story.

We have regulars and I’m learning their names and preferences, as well as the day-to-day procedures.  On Monday, I’ll be helping with inventory, always an interesting time.  🙂  It will be some time yet before I graduate to actually brewing the tea itself.  For now, I’m more of a go-fer, a tea-rista in training. But talk about brain stimulation! I love dealing with people, so being able to marry that with tea has really been fun so far.  And that’s at only two weeks.  I think that bodes well for the future. I have a long way to go before being an employee who can step in anywhere at any time, but I’m getting there as fast as I can!

Want to see where I’m working?  It’s called SereneTeaz and if you’re ever in Wheaton, it’s a lovely place to relax and enjoy some amazing tea.  Of course, if you stop by, be sure to say hello.


Happy Valentine’s Day and may your day be filled with love!

  1. Best wishes… Sounds like you are having a lot of fun!

  2. ChristineR says:

    It sounds like your job suits you. I was about to make a coffee, but I decided on tea instead – ‘uplifting ginger and lemon’, from Lipton! I hadn’t taken notice of the brand before. 😀 Interesting post, Janet. And I like your green uniforms. 🙂

    • I love the smell of coffee, but not the taste (unless doctored up a bit.) Lipton has improved their tea since the bad old days, but when I fly, I always take my own, better quality tea bags, or one of my teas in a bag, and just ask for water. It’s never hot enough, but the taste of the tea is a big improvement over what’s served by the airlines. I don’t get to wear the green smock until I’ve “graduated” from training (and I’m not in the photo), but the smocks do look nice.


  3. suej says:

    Glad you are enjoying your new job, and the teas! My morning starts with a green tea these days, and in the afternoon it’s Earl Grey!!

  4. Su Leslie says:

    So great to hear you are enjoying your job; what a wonderful place to work. I love teas; well tisanes mostly, but I do like strong black tea.

  5. Hi Janet, congratulations!
    To marry a job with something you like is set to be a long-lasting relationship!!
    Your experience is so interesting and I believe there is no coincidence in life.
    I do love tea, and by the way, I’m drinking white tea right now, and will be very curious to learn more about tea from your future posts.
    For now, I wish you lots of success, fun, and a great adventure.
    Best wishes,

    • Thanks, Lucile. I’m sure there will be more tea posts in my future. 🙂 We have several lovely white teas which I just tasted this week. So good and so full of antioxidants!


  6. Tea is much better than coffee, I wonder why I needed more than 30 years to notice this fact.
    Happy ValenTEAne’s Day!

  7. viveka says:

    Tina, a lovely read .. and I love your image. Not a tea drinker or Valentine Day fan. Enjoy your day and weekend.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the photo and the post, whether you like tea (or Valentine’s Day) or not. We don’t really do anything special for Valentine’s Day, although I’ll make a special meal tonight. I don’t think watching rugby 7’s on TV (which we plan to do later today) qualifies as a normal Valentine’s activity, but it will be fun. As our windchill is below zero and getting lower throughout the day, I think we’ll enjoy our day indoors!


  8. Happy Valen-tea-ns Day.
    Sounds like you have found a new love and get paid for loving it. That’s the best.
    Here’s tea you!

  9. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Janet. I’m glad you’re enjoying the new job!

  10. Sounds like a great job! I’m a tea-drinker, have been for a long long time after I discovered my daily coffee was causing black circles under my eyes. Vanity vanity. But it turned me to tea. Strong Irish Breakfast is my preference in the mornings, milk please.

  11. Ingrid says:

    Sounds like a very fun job. I’m more partial to coffee but do enjoy a cup of tea from time to time. You and are were both spending time in Europe about the same time and that’s where and when I started drinking coffee 🙂

  12. A perfect fit for your life and time, Janet! I’m looking forward to learning more about tea through your posts. 🙂

  13. Sounds like you have found a perfect part-time position. 🙂

  14. lexklein says:

    Isn’t it great when life aligns so nicely for you! 🙂

  15. yprior1 says:

    sounds like your job is going great 🙂
    and I will check out the link later – congrats

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