It’s been two months since I last had coffee. Two whole months. I never saw myself being able to quite. However, it’s not quite as simple as that. I’ve found a substitution: loose leaf tea.
I’ve dove into the world of loose leaf tea head first. I’ve learned that tea can be as complicated as wine. There are tons of variety green, black, oolong, herbal, and dark, to name a few. Inside each of these categories there are hundreds of different types. As tea ages, it becomes more valuable. Some tea’s are earthy, some are sweet, some taste like grass, and some don’t even have tea in them (roobios, for example).
All tea has caffeine in it (unless it’s an herbal), but the caffeine is different than the caffeine in coffee. In coffee, the caffeine assaults the drinker all at once. In tea, the caffeine is more of a sustained release, effecting the drinker over time. The Puerh Tuo Cha is one of my favorite teas, having more caffeine than coffee.
The world of tea is complex, and I’ve only begun to learn my way around it. I’ve found myself some good teachers who have really opened my eyes. I’m a Regular at the Eden Prairie Tea Source. I walk in, knowing all of the employees, and really feel at home. It wouldn’t surprise me if they started chanting “Derek!” when I walked in the door, ala Cheers style (are my readers from Hope old enough to remember Cheers?). I feel at home here.
The other day I decided to visit a different Tea Source location. It was weird. It looked almost the same as the Tea Source I knew, but there were a lot of little things that were off. For one thing, the staff didn’t seem happy to see me. In fact, they didn’t know me, and I didn’t know them. It was as if I had walked into the Bizzaro Tea Source. I know how Superman must have felt.
The service was good at Bizzaro Tea Source, and the selection was the same as the Tea Source I knew and loved, yet it wasn’t the same. There’s something about being known, being recognized, and being welcomed that makes us feel as if we belong.
I have that feeling at Hope. It’s a place where everybody knows my name, and they’re always glad I came. That’s what’s so special about the Hope community, all you have to do is show up, and everybody does a stellar job in making you feel as if you belong.
In the community of God, we are all regulars.