Musings–or are they rants?–about drinking water and tea

30 Sep

First off, let me put my hair in a bun and reach for my glasses. Do I need my ruler, too? Thought not. But you can see the stern visage. If you want to be thrifty, you cannot drink soda. I don’t care if it’s on sale or off-brand. It isn’t good for you, and it isn’t good for your pocket! Just get water and put a tablespoon of sugar in it if you need your fix.

As you might guess, I don’t like soda and never have (okay, “pop,” my Cleveland-born). It might be because my mom administered Coke syrup to “settle the stomach” when a stomachache threatened. So, Coke has that medicinal thing going for it–the same reason no cherry-flavored candy will ever appeal (only cherry cough syrup in those days). But I get thirsty just like everyone else! So, what’s to drink on the usual? Iced tea, hot tea, water. No bottled water for me, unless I’m travelling abroad. Yes, wave your unsafe water statistics at me if you like, but I don’t buy it. You think everything in the aquifers is absolutely pure? You think all that “spring water” is from springs? Both Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coke’s Dasani are purified tap water. If the tap is not good enough for you, get a Brita filter for your tap or one of their pitchers. All water tastes special with a slice of lemon or lime and crushed ice!

Haven't seen this brand in the store, but incredibly tasty (gift)Tea is my favorite drink–I don’t discount the caffeine. I drink iced tea year round, and drink it fresh. I cannot believe how restaurants with fountains charge the same for tea and soda, and, even more, how many sheep have been willing to pay for BOTTLED COLD TEA. The price is an outrage! When I make iced tea, I use cheapie tea (because ice kills the subtlety) and an iced tea machine; I throw in a black mint tea bag for extra flavor, serve myself enormous portions, and it still works out to 2 cents for a giant glass–something others are paying somewhere between $1-3 for, depending on the venue. What kind of market is that? Home-made has no preservatives or oddly-named chemicals; you can have sugar in it (yuck) at your own controlled taste level, or use as much or little honey as you like (yuck, too–yes, it is clearly a rant).  What other foodstuff has a mark-up like this? Don’t be a sucker. If you’re in a hurry and can’t wait the six minutes for perfect cold tea that a machine can provide, and don’t want to pour hot water over a pile of bags to make a concentrate that will then be diluted with cold water, do try a Lipton alternative–cold brew. One big “family bag” in an ultra-big glass of cold water for three minutes, then add ice; four or so in a gallon, three minutes, ice it up.

Hot tea? Yes, I move a few steps up, but avoid Tazo and overpriced brands whose packaging pushes them up around the $8 mark. Really want a bargain and a great tea? Go to Marc’s and get the Boston Teas, particularly their mint (black tea, not herbal) and orange spice. I’ve been drinking them since I was a kid. The Tea of Life brand in the picture is great, and has some lesser-seen flavors–it was a gift, but the prices I’ve seen online put it between Bigelow and Tazo. There’s not a thing wrong with Twinings or Bigelow, mind, and Celestial Seasonings is still a great brand, too. But iced tea? Get thee to the dollar store.

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