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  • Anyone who's met me more than once knows I'll do almost anything for a good latte, especially from my favorite local coffeehouse (of whichever city I'm in at the time). I have different coffee places for different moods: working, hanging out with friends, working with friends. One day, I WILL run my own coffeehouse full of comfortable overstuffed chairs, work tables with good lighting, and excellent locally roasted java.

    And yet, I recently realized just how much tea is my personal symbol of home and comfort. I grew up drinking iced tea, strong and unsweet (as all good northerners do). I can't have caffeine after 3pm if I ever want to get to sleep, except for my Mom's iced tea.

    But the recent tea-revelation is hot teas, usually loose leaf and made with a tea stick. My preferred flavors range from a cacao tea to white licorice and masala chai. Even the ritual of making the tea soothes, starting with setting the burn to the right temperature to boil without burning. My newly acquired tea kettle has a spinner on the spout, so it whistles AND spins. When I first bought the kettle, I was frustrated with how long it took to heat up, but now it's just enough time to do a few dishes, gather up my book/notebooks for tea-and-reading, or run and unlock the door to let a friend in.

    Part of my hot tea appreciation undoubtedly comes from the company I've kept the past couple years...we're all librarian-larvae. It comes with the personality type that chooses this profession. Yet when I go out with these same people, I almost always order coffee. Like the traditional Korean tea set in the photo I took a few years ago, maybe tea is simply too intimate to be public.
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