Texans like to call themselves southern but they’re really not. Texans are Texans. People in the (real) south love their sweet tea. A lot.
While I’ve been raised around sweet tea all my life, I’ve never taken a liking to it and prefer the unsweet variety. (I also prefer my coffee black but I don’t think that has any connection to this story…)
People can drink what they want to drink, I don’t care. Until it affects me. Then I care.
We’ve been here almost two weeks and it’s affecting me – this sweet tea obsession. Not because unsweet isn’t available – it is, you just might hear a snicker from the person refilling their sweet tea and I can deal with that – but because my beloved flavored tea has all but disappeared.
Anyone who knows me well knows I have a fierce and passionate obsession with flavored teas. The best part of dining at a tea room is not the tiny chicken salad sandwich on a crossant but a flavored tea served as the house iced tea. I could seriously rattle off a list of places in Fort Worth that have great flavored teas. It’s that important.
Heck, I will happily choose to eat mediocre food at a restaurant that serves flavored tea.
Earlier this week, we stopped by Pei Wei to pick up dinner. Not because I wanted Pei Wei to eat necessarily but because they have iced chai tea. And it’s so good I often buy a gallon of it to take home.
I excitedly skipped over to the drink station to get my chai tea.
There was the mandarian orange green tea…
There was the soda station…
And in the place of my beloved chai tea was – what for it – sweet tea.
That’s right, people, an entire container of sweet tea where my chai tea should be located.
I was so offended that I almost demanded my money back for my $2 to-go drink but opted instead to suck it up and consider it a learning experience. No more paid drink for me at Pei Wei. I’ll stick with water.
This wouldn’t have been so bad if it didn’t become a trend here in the great city of Charlotte. Story #2:
Last night after church, I decided I wanted a big glass of flavored tea. You know who else has great tea?
The faux Chinese fast food joint carries a house tea called Panda Passion that is so good. So SO good. Again, happy to eat faux Chinese to have the tea.
I navigate through construction and traffic to the nearest Panda Express. Go inside and this time I got smart; I walked to the drink station first, before buying a cup.
There was the soda station.
There was the standard unsweet tea.
And right where my beloved Panda Passion tea should stand was – you guessed it! – sweet tea.
I asked the girl working the register about it, just in case the staff hid it in the back so only they could consume the deliciousness that is Panda Passion, and she said ‘I had no idea such a thing even existed!’ with a smile on her face.
I wasn’t smiling.
If someone had told me that all my favorite teas had been replaced by sweet tea here, the decision to move would have taken a bit more thought and prayer. But alas, we’re here to stay and otherwise love the place.
The good news is that once we have our own place (whenever that is!), I can just keep gallons of my favorite homemade flavored tea in the fridge. That’ll at least save money, right?