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  • Kate Barker

“Camellia Sinensis, please”

Sometimes, if I ask for hot tea at a restaurant, a mug of lukewarm water and a colorful assortment of little square packages are set in front of me. I inhale and politely thumb through the Herbal Peppermint, Berry Berry (no caffeine), and Chamomile packets, and finally inquire, “Do you have any Black tea?” Off the server trots, returning with an off brand lifeless tea bag. The temptation to expound on real tea, is overwhelming. Keeping my hand on my mouth & shoving the tea information file to the back of my mind, allows me to remain a decent, sweet, smiling human being.

Anything that can be infused is referred to as “tea”. Herbal concoctions, often consumed for medicinal purposes, abound. Common herbal “teas” include Chamomile, Hibiscus, Lemon Grass and various Mints ( Spearmint, Peppermint). Fruit infusions like Raspberry, Cranberry, or Apple are popular “teas”. However, unless one of these infusions contains some form of the Camelllia sinensis plant, it’s not really tea!

I think when I’m eating out, my drink order will be, “Cameillia sinenis, please”. Then, I’m sure there will be no confusion. Just in case though, I do have my own real tea, in a zip-lock baggie in my purse ! Some people carry a flask with their favorite alcohol, I carry a plastic baggie with my favorite tea!

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