Here Comes My Old Lady Rant

I bought the worst tea the other day!

That’s really all you have to read, but I’m going to elaborate.

I have been out of tea for a while because I don’t drink it.

That’s not exactly true. There are three hundred packets of stale Lipton tea in my pantry right now because I buy a new box for my mother every time she comes to visit, but nobody I’ve ever met other than my mother drinks Lipton tea. This spans more than one continent, because when my mother was in Paris she told every waiter we had that they didn’t have “the good tea.”

I occasionally have some chamomile on hand for days when my stomach’s a little upset or I feel like I’m catching a cold. Green tea can go fuck itself. Why do people drink this tea that tastes like metal shavings? I do not get it.

But I understand that sometimes I should drink things that aren’t coffee or wine. I want to be able to do this, I just haven’t found anything else as satisfying. I haven’t given up.

I don’t fast or cleanse or detox because I am honest with my ability to have the willpower required to starve myself for days. As animals, our most basic instinct is to make sure we eat. We kill things every day just so we eat, and we always have for as long as we’ve existed. Those things we kill also kill things every day just so they can eat. The only reason I can imagine we need to take a day or a week off from eating is because we are trying to enter some kind of hallucinatory altered state that comes just before you lapse into a coma. Since I’m not seeking that kind of miserable enlightenment, I eat food at least once a day.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to achieve all this “I FEEL GREAT” bullshit people who are high off cleansing (or, as science calls it: “starvation”) claim to be experiencing. I would love to know that my organs were detoxing, that free radicals were sloughing off my innards, that with every hungry minute I was becoming a healthier person.

That’s why they make herbal teas, right? So you can do that with just one cup a day? I mean, honestly, I can’t figure out any other reason to drink green tea. It is the worst.

So I’m wandering through the “ethnic foods” aisle the other day and I came across a section that could have been called “Bags of herbs and dried leaves you don’t understand because you do not have a Mexican grandma.” And it looked like the kind of magic I wanted. And there was one that was like, “For your liver and your gall bladder.”

Hey! I drink coffee and wine almost every day! (almost = sometimes more than once a day) I bet my liver needs some tea-relief! If I could drink this liver tea, opening the secrets of the ancients inside my intestines, then it’ll be like I went on some kind of four-hundred dollar, GOOP-approved scam-sham! All of the cleanse, none of the cash. This box costs two dollars? Sign me up.

This is how I ended up bringing home a box of Boldo tea. Boldo! It’s kinda Peruvian! I’ve been to Peru! I am worldly! This is what worldly people drink! Worldly, healthy people. This was going to be the first step toward the way-detoxed, super-skinny, glowy-skinned, pristined-livered me.

So the other night, instead of pouring a glass of wine to sip while watching Justified, I got all Gwyneth on myself and was like, “No. I will have a cleansing cup of tea.”

As soon as I removed the plastic wrap surrounding the box, I knew I had made a mistake. It smelled like feet. The whole kitchen immediately smelled like the inside of an Ugg boot. But I persevered. Maybe it wouldn’t smell that way once it was brewed. Maybe it tasted better than it smelled, especially once I added half a lemon’s worth of juice to it.

I’m just going to skip to the part where I tell you that it didn’t. It somehow tasted worse. It tasted like a licorice stick someone found inside their Ugg boot. One that had been dipped in lemon juice.

But I tried. I tried holding my breath while I sipped. I tried imagining I was drinking a potion made by a healer and focused on my liver squeezing out years of martinis and vodka tonics.

I got about three sips and one scene into Justified before I called the whole thing off. At one point I thought I was going to throw up, which would definitely count as cleansing, but ultimately I ended up just sitting around whining and complaining, which everybody knows is a form of stress relief.

Me and Danny Zuko don’t like tea!

And now I don’t know what to do with this box of foul. It seems wasteful to throw it away. It seems racist to ask the housekeeper if she likes that tea. It seems mean to give it to any of my friends. There’s no Goodwill for shitty tea, and I’m afraid to try to use the leaves for anything else because they stink like feet-waves.

Then I read up on it a little more and it says if you drink too much of it at once, you can die. Should they be selling that shit at Albertsons? I mean, that was nowhere on the box. What if I had made up my own liver cleanse and killed myself with some foot tea?

So, consider this my public service announcement. I almost died of Boldo tea so now you don’t have to. And once again, green tea: go fuck yourself.

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Comments (


  1. Brett

    Toss it. Peruvian Death Tea is not what you want to be remembered for.

    Or so I’m hoping.

  2. Monica

    Oh my goodness. My mom is constantly buying and consuming weird tea (she hates Lipton the same way I hate any gummi bear that isn’t Haribo, we’re snobs). You may have just saved her life.

    I did a quick google to see if there is anything that can be done with tea leaves that isn’t drink it, and turns out there is a plethora of tree-huggy cures out there using tea leaves. However, your graphic detail of the smell makes me think you shouldn’t rub it all over your skin for everything from sunburns, to foot funk (since it already smells like an Ugg boot and all).

    If you were a real shit, which you might just be. I’d print out your internet knowledge of the killer tea and march it and the tea back to Albertsons and shame them in to giving you your money back. Nothing makes me feel better than shaming people in to things. I am sure it will work just as nicely for you.

    Good luck!

  3. Kimberly

    Raylan Givens is appalled by your life choices.

  4. Kristen B

    I’ve done that a few times, bought tea because “it’s healthy! Anti-oxidants! Ancient Chinese Secret! You will live to be older than God! Or Robert DeNiro! Whichever comes first!” But after, say, 2 days, I’m right back into my coffee-and-chocolate-donut, anti oxidant-free shame.

    Also, it’s not racist to ask the housekeeper if she would like the tea. You have something you don’t want, but would rather give away than pitch, so why not see if someone else will take it off your hands? No biggie.

    That’s just this old, white lady’s opinion.

    P.S. My lawn: get off it.

  5. Laura/Easy O

    “But I understand that sometimes I should drink things that aren’t coffee or wine. I want to be able to do this, I just haven’t found anything else as satisfying. I haven’t given up.”

    1) No, you don’t!; 2) There’s isn’t anything as satisfying; 3) 4) My mom’s British and both my parents drink multiple cups of tea every day and have a whole SHELF of teas. While not a tea-hater, I’ve consumed enough tea in my lifetime to vouch for the fact that coffee and wine > tea

  6. Caro

    I’m from Argentina and here most people only drink it to get rid of a stomach ache or if they ate too much.
    Wait and try it. But without lemon juice, it won’t make it taste better.

  7. Laura/Easy O

    Ack, my point 3 got cut off! That was a rant about how coffee and wine are both actually _good for you_ and have been connected to the prevention of various diseases. For instance: Worried about your liver because of all the wine you drink? Know what helps with that? COFFEE. Seriously. Drinking coffee is linked to prevention alcohol-related liver damage:

    1. Kristen B

      Actually, I thought that the missing #3 was part of the joke, and it made me laugh. :)

  8. Heather

    If you really want a liver detox tea, stick with something with milk thistle — there are several at Whole Foods — that are usually not feet-ish (or fetishistic ;).

    Good on you for the try.

  9. Germaine

    I’m with your Mom- Lipton’s the best! There really is no reason to drink anything else.

  10. Melissa

    Mighty Leaf Organic African Nectar. It’s delicious hot or cold, and it comes in the fanciest tea bags you’ve ever seen (they’re some kind of transparent cloth, not paper!). Seriously, you won’t be sorry.

  11. Michael

    I hope for your sake that there are not as many fans of Boldo tea as there are of Jollibee.

    1. e.

      Right? “Boldo Tea fucked your mom!”

      1. JeniMull

        Pamie readers never fail to make me snort with laughter at work.

  12. jive turkey

    I just have to tell you that I also have approximately 300 packets of stale Lipton tea in my kitchen cabinet, all purchased in anticipation of Mom Visits.

  13. Paul Tabachneck

    Somebody once suggested I try Twining’s China Oolong Tea when i had a head throat thing, and it was so good that now I drink it when I’m not sick. It’s the first tea I haven’t felt the need to add stuff to.

  14. Clare

    I guess one of the occupational hazards of being a self-employed writer would be that you can’t leave your ill-advised food purchases or cooking disasters on the break room table and watch them disappear, no matter how awful they are.

    Regarding green tea: I love it, the harsher the better. The swill they serve in cheap Chinese restaurants? Love. That said, have you tried lemon and/or pomegranate flavored green tea? It’s much milder.

  15. kona

    But there IS a Goodwill for shitty tea! It’s called Shitty tea? Expired pantry items? Old cell phone chargers? Clothes that you’re too lazy to drive to the real Goodwill? People will come pick that shit up off of your porch. It is, in fact, the bomb.

  16. Pamie

    Housekeeper said, “Oh! I’ve been looking for this tea. I was told it’s good for my skin.” When I warned her not to drink too much, she said, “I know. Because of the liver.” So she knows everything and I should have started by asking her instead of buying tea on my own.

    1. amanda

      Oh God, I was just going to post, “Well, don’t kill your damn housekeeper!” Heh. You’re a good lady, Pamie.

  17. foo

    psst – green tea is not herbal. Green tea = tea leaves, herbal = herbs-n-stuff. Herbal is never actually “tea”, that needs tea leaves! Herbal = herbal tisane.

    love, that annoying tea person who is no longer allowed to drink tea with friends because she won’t SHUT UP about it all.

  18. Judi

    So weird reading this right after watching “Rory’s Dance,” where Emily acts like Lipton is the malt liquor of tea. I knew there had to be other moms out there who could appreciate Lipton! Stale Lipton smells like the ’70s to me.

    “But I understand that sometimes I should drink things that aren’t coffee or wine.” — I respect you on a whole new level for writing this :-D

    Sorry your tea was nasty. While I’m loathe to suggest yet another thing that might gross you out, mate is the only thing that has ever come close to knocking coffee off my daily queue. I love it, and I’m with you on green tea 100%. Mate’s awesome iced and gives you a good combo of Healthy Gwyneth with the kickass jolt of coffee!

    That said, I’m off to brew some coffee, because this blog and the comments made me want it something fierce.

  19. scooze

    foo, do you like being a Wonder Killer? Get in line behind Pam.

  20. JML

    Thank you on telling Green tea to fuck itself. It won’t, it will continue to linger on tasting disgusting and pretending to cure everything from the common cold to scurvy, but at least someone else has said it. The people in my office seem obsessed with it as a cure-all and won’t stop talking about it.


  21. Ken Shipley

    So, wait. Can I trade all the old, never-used tea in my cupboard for a housekeeper I can give it to?

    1. pamie

      Please don’t kidnap anyone, Ken.

  22. Charles
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