My cardiologist has asked me to start drinking decaf tea. When he saw the horrified, not to mention stubbornly negative, expression on my face, he amended that to one cup of caffeinated tea a day and the rest decaf. I dutifully started checking the internet for decaf teas. Most decaf teas I have come across ... and my search has not been particularly extensive and certainly not exhaustive as yet ... have tended to be flavored teas. Now I suspect flavored teas often have,as their base, teas I wouldn't buy on a bet. I know, that statement is sheer snobbery. But I have discovered so many lovely teas in the recent years, especially among green and white teas, that I am loathe to lower my standards. In deference to my doctor, I have recently purchased one decaf black tea, flavored with peach and apricot bits. As flavorings go, peach and apricot are the ones I find least offensive ... even at times, actually pleasant. This tea, from Culinary Teas, is an unspecified black tea flavored with bits of dried apricot and peach. This is my very first cup. I have done everything I can to elevate the experience, psyching myself up with a beautiful cup and saucer, a dainty little teaspoon, some buttered toast as an accompaniment. And still my verdict is a grudging "Okay, this is acceptable." As I expected, the strongest note is peach and the underlying tea has a slightly astringent but not unpleasant taste. It is pictured here in one of my depression glass tea and biscuit cup and saucers. I have a set of four that I found in a not- quite-antique-shop-but-not-exactly-junk-shop ... a sort of indoor flea market.
Tea drinking has been a pleasure in the past. It feels rather flat to demote it to a merely acceptable experience. And, damn it, I like the taste of tea. When I want the flavor of fruit, I'll drink juice or eat fruit. When I lift a teacup, I want to taste tea. I suspect I'll follow my doctor's regimen in other ways: loose more weight, exercise more frequently, practice my Tai Chi more assiduously, learn deep-breathing exercises to slow my heart rate, take my medicine faithfully. Maybe even reduce my caffeinated tea intake from six to eight cups a day down to three or four. But there I draw the line! At least until I find more enjoyable decaf teas. Being a sensible soul, I will keep looking.