We go upstate to the Catskills a few times a year. A couple of years ago my husband discovered an obscure brand of tea called Tay, at a coffee and tea festival (don't ask), and learned that its creator owns a shop in Andes (about ten minutes from the farm we visit). He bought a sampler pack (at the festival you're not asking about) and we really loved it. It came in a little bamboo box, and had a somewhat useless bamboo strainer, but the tea was fabulous. This spring we finally had the chance to visit the Tay Tea shop. What a beautiful place! I bought a few tins of loose tea (I've abandoned the bamboo strainer in favor of a regular metal one with a tiny bamboo handle), some caffeinated, some de-. Tea has kind of changed my life. I was never a coffee drinker (a rebellion I think, from when I was twelve and had to get up for school at like 5:30 and my mom would push a steaming mug of coffee under my nose and say 'come on, don't you need it?')--Coffee seemed boringly grown-up (so did bridge, and knitting, and once I hit college I realized I'd have felt a lot cooler had I been familiar with any of those things). Tea was just herbal for me, I'm not sure how that happened. I'd drink chamomile, or Red Zinger, and call myself a tea drinker. One afternoon about five years ago I was having trouble keeping my head up at a friend's house while our daughters played together. 'Let me make you some tea!' My pal offered. 'Umm, chamomile?' I suggested to which she said something like 'Pshaw! none of that, I'll show you a good cuppa tea.' She returned with PG Tips with milk and sugar (if offered, I'd have declined both). I sipped it and was in heaven. It woke me up (so this is the caffeine I've missed all these years) physically and it woke me up to the world of tea. I'm now the kind of person who fantasizes about my morning cup even before my head hits the pillow at night, and who dreams of the 4 o'clock cup, even as my morning's brewing. While I still keep PG Tips on hand, and enjoy a good basic up of Liptons when I'm at work, I'm proud to say that my kitchen shelf if a glorious display of loose teas in beautiful tins. Better than Sex is one of Tay Tea's non-caffeinated blends that has changed the lives of many of my girlfriends (a mix of chocolate and vanilla and peppermint), other names are Muse, Duchess's first Love, Marry Me Again (an Earl Grey with a lavender nod to Elizabeth Taylor), Tuk Tuk Chai and Dream. I cannot say enough about these beautiful teas. In the midst of all this mothering, these little teas are like mini-vacations, and if another mom's at my kitchen table enjoying it as well, then I'm all the more fulfilled. In searching for the Tay Tea website for the hyperlink above, I just noticed that the quote on the site is 'we drink tea to forget the noise of the world.' Kinda perfect for this mom of three.