Here at Austin Appetite, we have covered coffee a few times, but for me, that advice falls on deaf ears. For the longest time I tried to convince myself that I had what it takes to be a part of the coffeehouse scene, but eventually I simply had to admit it to myself: I am just not a consistant fan of coffee.
Don’t get me wrong, when I could find a place that served coffee with taste just to my liking (shout out to Lava Java on Medical Arts), it was heavenly. But I reached a point where wading through tons of subpar mugs of the stuff (while wasting quite a few dollars) was something I just could not sustain anymore, and the thought of making it myself at home (buying a maker, grinding my own beans) was just tiring.
So I turned to my other flavored water love, tea. Sure, you can also get as involved in this process as you would like, but for tea all you really need is a method to heat up some water, some sweetener, and the time for the tea to steep.
A friend suggested Tea Embassy as a good starting place, and although their selection was amazing, I still found it a little steep in price for my needs (I do highly recommend the place to anyone wanting to experiment or take it to the next level).
After testing out the standard Lipton’s and Nestle’s and store brands, I happen to stumble upon a box from the Ceylon Tea Company, almost hidden on the bottom shelf of the local HEB. For only $1.99 for 25 bags, I figured it was not too much money to put toward a test run of this new brand, and picked up one of their Earl Grey and an interesting one called 1001 Nights.
For being an off the shelf brand (blasphemy in Austin, I know!) I was blown away. The Earl Grey’s bergamot comes through better than almost any other Grey I have had before. 1001 Nights blends black and green tea with bits of rose and strawberry, and it has just about changed my mind on floral teas (which I am typically not a fan of at all).
I do not mean for this to be just a plug, however, there is a moral to this story!
Take the time to investigate all your grocery store has to offer, and that means searching both high and low (from top shelf to bottom shelf) to find the hidden treasures that do not get the privilege of being at eye level or at an end cap. Grocery stores are not trying to do you a favor by putting the “best” things within reach, in fact, there tends to be other reasons for doing so.
You just might find your next culinary surprise.