Island Soul City Dreams

I love New York, but my heart has a Caribbean beat. It pulsates to the traditions of my people. Attuned to the rhythms of this City, I stay West Indian to the bone. I reflect. I analyze. I speak my mind. ~ I Keep it Irie ~

Bitter Or Not, I Love That Taste

It’s one of the few things that gives me utter gratification whenever I get it in my mouth. I get a high from the very first taste, savoring it as it hits the back of my throat and I take that swallow. Then, I briefly close my eyes in the afterglow. Mmmmm, just writing about it now makes me crave for it. Yes, I am addicted to it.

For many years, I kept my addiction a secret. I used to think that people would deem me  a freak if they knew how much I was into this thing. So when guys I dated inevitably found out, it was comforting to know that they had no complaints at all. In fact, my passion for this thing is so infectious that I’ve been able to convert a couple of boyfriends who weren’t into it. To the extent that sometimes, no matter what I was busy doing, once they were in the mood for it, they’d interrupt me to give them a hand with this satisfying treat. I’m flattered that they’ve all said they especially enjoyed it with me.

“It” can be bitter, but not like lemons!

I’m unsure of when I became hooked. But I recall in my earlier years, that I reluctantly indulged. I remember it being bitter and how I felt compelled to spit it out. But I was told not to; that it was best not to let any of it go to waste. I was advised that it would do my body good; that there were all types of health benefits in store. Apparently, it was the cure for everything from a headache, to helping me sleep well. One guy who was a huge fan of it even told me that the more often I did it, the happier I would be and that there was something in it that makes people wiser. Oh well, I was young, naïve and willing to please, so I bought into this “promise.”

As the years went by, my addiction grew. I experimented more and more, fascinated by the variation in taste ranging from the very bitter to the mild, watery, to the occasionally rich and sweet. But no matter the flavor, I challenged myself to gulp it all down – naturally, despite hearing how some women added “condiments”; even whipped cream, to jazz up the experience! I couldn’t get enough of it. I remember occasions where I did it on an average of three to five times a day. It got to the point where one of my boyfriends of many years – as much as he too loved it – suggested that I give it a break. This prompted me to seek “help” on the matter. I needed to find out if I were the only one with this seemingly odd obsession.

Hesitant to broach the subject with anyone, I went online to do some research. As I dug into the history of this thing, I discovered that both men and women had been doing it for centuries. It’s one of the world’s most practised acts – from young lovers, to business professionals, even the religious and the aristocracy. I also found out that in some societies it was considered a cause for superstition, a source of medicine and in one or two instances had such a powerful effect on those involved that it was linked to political upheaval. I was especially thrilled to learn that like me, all these people also did this thing several times a day! Interestingly enough, most of them seemed to have had an affinity for doing it in the latter half of the day or often at my favorite time to do it – in those early morning hours. I can’t think of a better way to help one get up, to awake.

Nowadays, I am not so shy to discuss my addiction. Perhaps, it’s because I’m more grown now and I’ve recognized how popular a phenomenon it is. Several of my girlfriends also share my love for this thing. We often exchange stories on the subject, trade secrets about our methods and generally offer tips to enhance our respective experiences. I also have a few girlfriends who really don’t care for it; they admit they don’t have a palate for the taste, no matter the source. That’s their loss. I relish everything involved in doing this thing: from that first stroke to ignite the heat; to the sounds that emit to cue me on my next move; to it reaching its full potential; to extracting all that goodness and consuming every drop; and its distinctive scent lingering on my lips, hands and in the air.

Even if you don’t believe the hype, there’s no doubt that this thing is indeed beneficial to me. I’m convinced that it protects my body from the ravages of aging, among other ailments. I’ll argue that just like water, it helps to keep me hydrated, it’s great for my teeth, calorie-free and even increases my metabolism. I have very few vices, but I’m proud of this one. And the fact that my mother also does it, makes me less ashamed to continue doing it.

As I conclude this piece, rays of sunlight seep through my blinds beckoning the start of a new day. I couldn’t think of a more perfect time to again get that taste in my mouth. So I’m going to light the stove, put that squealing kettle on, pour the water out and after a few minutes of seeping, I’ll give into my addiction and do that thing – drink a lovely cup of tea.

~ I Keep it Irie ~

Among the assortment of teas in my cupboard.

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18 thoughts on “Bitter Or Not, I Love That Taste

  1. Martin on said:

    Hmm…. I wish every woman would love to drink” tea” five times ah day…….

    • Actually, if you do your research, Martin, you will see the health benefits in drinking that many cups of tea; for example – green tea. And, btw, the metaphor is indeed tea. Don’t get carried away with the double entendre lol!:-) Thanks for reading and have a great day. One love.:-)

      • Erica on said:

        Another well-written piece…had me wanting to rush to the bottom to find out what it was and the lime didn’t help either…i went from lime and salt to lime and cod liver oil…i knew it wasn’t the yucky body fluids…but it is always a challenge until I got the hint…lmao…yes you made me smile…Continue to share your talents girl…Great reading!

      • Awww, thank you Erica. I really appreciate your kinds words. So often, in this space it’s hard to gauge an audience or effect, if any on readers, especially if there’s little feedback. Thank you for reading and encouraging me. It made me smile to hear I made you smile. Thanks again and one love sis.:-)

    • Martin on said:

      Ha ha ha thanks for making that clear……you are Good… Blessings to you.

      • Thanks.:-)
        If you read some of my previous posts, you’ll see that I enjoy the use of double entendre… But I always “Keep it Irie.”:-)

  2. I’m sure you already know this, but pineapples make it taste better 🙂

  3. Just sharing my wisdom.

    Great post as always. This one you actually kept me guessing all the way till the end; I don’t usually think of Tea as being bitter. I thought you were going to say Mauby (do Bajans drink Mauby?). Best thing about these posts, is that after you get your mind out of the gutter, it’s actually a nice little slice of life story.

    • Thanks G! I’m flattered that I kept you a braniac like you guessing till the end.:-) Re: mauby, oh yes, Bajans love their mauby! Funny enough, I once offered a JA brethren of mine a glass of mauby (I almost always have the syrup and or bark at home) and he didn’t know what was mauby!? I was in shock ’cause all my other JA peops know what it was even if they don’t like it. Mind you, he grew up in Kingston and only moved here for college less than a decade ago!

      Re: tea being bitter, generally the pure tea (not the stuff you usually buy in the tea bags) – the real “buds” can be quite potent and for some people if consumed naturally with no sugar etc it can taste bitter. Tea in its pure natural form, like many other things is an acquired taste.

      Over all, tea has a most fascinating story/history; it makes for an interesting read.:-)

      • I don’t remember Mauby being that big in JA. I was only introduced to it here in the states, by someone from St. Vincent I believe. I remember the first time my father tried to make it, he let it steep too long or something, and it was extremely dark and bitter. He didn’t want to waste it so he put it in the fridge. I came home thirsty, and opened the fridge to see what looked like a tall pitcher of Iced Tea. I poured a nice, tall glass, and took a huge mouthful. I almost died when it hit my tongue. And I couldn’t spit it out immediately on the floor, so I had to hold it in my mouth till I could get to somewhere to spit. Horrible experience. Soured me on Mauby altogether.

      • That’s hilarious! Sorry you had such a bitter introduction to mauby, but it can actually be quite refreshing. You have to try the Sweet @ Dandy mauby syrup from Barbados, that’s among the best out there!:-)

    • And “mind out the gutter”? What got it there in the first place? How could such “pure” slices of life make you think dirty?;-)-D

  4. Cipreen Holder on said:

    Nice Ma Quita! LOL! First I thought it was mauby bitters – but then… LOL! Good one – thanks for sharing as always.

  5. Derwin on said:

    Interesting… this tea drinking 🙂

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