Full Metal Botanist

10 Nov

(The title for this post comes from this comic, from the wonderful VG Cats comic strip. Utter hilarity, all of it.)

It’s important to have a hobby. That’s what people tell me. People who tell me that usually have furtive stares and are very intense about their hobbies, which include such adrenaline rushes as collecting all the stars in a video game, or making pyramids out of soda cans, or painting sea shells, and I always wonder which of us they’re trying to reassure. I very rarely suspect it’s me. It’s sort of like, on Night Court, Harry’s dad who got out of the nut house and always says, with a worrying smile, “…but I’m feeling much better now!”


It is good to have a hobby. Mostly, I don’t, because my life divides into Writing and Not Writing. Things which are Not Writing are to be avoided, because they get in the way of the Writing, you see? I am a happy combination of a workaholic and a neurotic, and this may be why no one ever comes over and visits me, or bakes me a cake.

But recently, a hobby has presented itself. It’s logical enough: Making varieties of tea. Since I drink a lot of tea anyway, it’s only natural that sooner or later, I’d start experimenting. Some of it turns out really well! I won’t go into specifics, because I don’t want to give away the content of my Epitome Tea, which is going to the winner of the Tea Debacle (who, after drinking it, will feel much better now and also will never sleep again). The experiments are fun. Teas which were previously undrinkable for whatever reason make the perfect ingredients for new teas. I keep a log in the back of my notebook. The varieties are logical and building toward other logical combinations.

So, this morning, I tried a combination. It was Earl Grey tea and Cape Town Rooibos tea.I don’t mind telling you the combination there.

It occured to me, a couple of hours later, that I should be more careful mixing teas. When you mix Coca-Cola with Mountain Dew, they mix about as well as oil and water. You just wind up drinking a cup with Coke and Dew in it, that’s all. But when you mix teas, you are blending the dry leaves together, then boiling them together, then drinking the really and truly mixed extract which comes into your pot. This is perhaps not entirely safe.

So, I love Earl Grey, I love Rooibos teas. I had an idea in my head of how it would taste. It turns out I’m fairly intuitive about this, because all my tea mixtures have come out well and taste like I expected them to. This one was no exception, it tasted like I thought I would. I would have needed to modify it in the future for perfection, but it came out as expected.

Then it settled.

The first problem was that it made me deeply, deeply nauseous in the very pit of my stomach. I sat on the couch and had no desire to get up. The second problem was that it made my head slightly…blurry. Like I had all the side effects of having a headache, without having the pain.

The third problem was the inexplicable aftertaste of oatmeal which has thus far been impossible to brush, or mouthwash, out of my mouth.

I’m feeling better now, four hours later. The oatmeal taste is only just beginning to fade. I have concluded that while my experiments mixing Black tea-base with other black-tea base is fine, perhaps it does not mix well with red-tea base.

Or if it can, it will not be done here ever again. Man was not meant to play God!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go try out another mixed-tea idea I have.


Posted by on November 10, 2007 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “Full Metal Botanist

  1. Arachne Jericho

    November 10, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Man. You’re as bad as the Heian era ladies of the court when they played their incense competitions.

    “Who can mix the best incense?”

    Sometimes it worked, sometimes it worked brilliantly, and sometimes… well….

  2. Pete Tzinski

    November 10, 2007 at 1:04 pm


    The silly thing is, when I feel nauseous like this, my first inclination is always to…drink some refreshing tea. Maybe I’ll have unmixed-something first… 🙂


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