Lady and the Mug

Katya Bychkova wearing american apparel black dotted dress, red chanel lipstick, bcbg headband, black and white photoAsk my friends to describe me in three words, and these words would be “tea” and “red lipstick.” While my addiction to beauty products is understandable (most women are hooked on make-up), my obsession with hot tea is hard to explain. Sometimes I start looking for some tea in the middle of the Hamptons party, at the night club, or in my own bag where I usually have a couple of tea bags (even if it is a clutch!). Over the years of my hot tea addiction, I got used to the fact that people will ask questions like how I can drink anything hot at 90 degrees or whether it feels disgusting to mix red wine with hot tea. I also already know what kind of questions people will ask about my love to hot tea. Most likely they would be about the role of the black tea in Russian culture and the fact that caffeine in the black tea is better that the one in coffee. Yep, I know all of that but I am not so easy convince when it comes to changing my habits.I drink a cup of Earl Grey tea in the morning (I prefer Twinings brand) and anywhere from five to seven cups of mint tea during the day. Over the years of experimenting, I’ve figured that most tea companies produce a decent mint tea (for instance, Celestial, Twinings, and Bigelow) while it could be difficult to find a proper black tea (Ahmad tea is one of my favorite). I usually add a piece of lemon to my tea and rarely drink it with milk. I also like to make my own tea: I simply put in a teapot with hot water a couple of springs of fresh or dried mint and a half of lemon.

I always use tea selection as an indicator of how good or bad is the restaurant we are eating at. If all they have is regular and decaf Lipton, my opinion about the place in general will be pre-judgmental. Conversely, if the tea selection is good, I most likely have a good opinion about the restaurant. Many French restaurants and cafes in New York serve different kind of teas, as well as the chain Le Pain Quotidien. My rescue spot for tea on the go is Starbucks: I really like their Tazo Refresh Mint Full Leaf Tea.

My warm relations with tea started years ago when I was studying in college. Back in Russia students are assigned with much bigger amount of readings and thus often have to study until late at night. Since college times I love to cuddle in a soft (preferably cashmere) blanket on the couch with a book or a project I am working on and have a cup of hot tea. I still have this habit of putting myself in a blanket cocoon while reading or working on my laptop. I also have a habit of leaving unfinished cups of tea all over the apartment (I like my tea hot!). Back in the day this habit was making my mother nuts, but Ben doesn’t seem to mind me leaving my tea cups around the house (maybe because I am the one responsible for dishes?).

I wonder if any of you have a similar addiction to tea. Many of my American friends drink hot tea only when they do not feel well while for Russian friends drinking hot tea is a kind of tradition. Would you be able to completely give up coffee and drink only hot tea all day long?


Dress: Belle De Jour by American Apparel  | Headband: Fascinator Headband by BCBG | Shoes: Bebe | Photos by Vital Agibalow

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  • My workplace last summer had a break room full of racks of tea choices and it was a great alternative to drinking coffee every day. Because of that, I briefly developed a habit of tea-drinking—although I’m not quite as knowledgeable about what I like.

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    • I wish my company had any other tea except Lipton regular and Lipton decaf 🙂 I bring my fancy tea and keep it at my desk so I have options. Currently I am into Lemon & Ginger tea by Twinings. It is herbal and very delicious. If you decide to get back to your habit of tea-drinking, I highly recommend to start from that one.

  • Adrianna Obrycka

    Since I’m polish we also drink tea regularly, not just when we are sick. I also LOVE Earl Grey tea. That is my favorite, I can drink it all day long.

    So from this post I gather that you are Russian? That’s really cool. How old were you when you came to the US? Do you go back home often?

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