A Brief History of Vampyre Tea
Tea is the Life & the Love!
Tea saved my life. I grew up in Southern Maryland and did not find much to connect with. I always felt odd and out of place. Though, I had friends, I found it difficult fitting in. I never felt like I had any real connections, except playing in the woods or hanging out on the beach along the Chesapeake Bay. Nature has a way of digging into one's soul, giving roots, whereas people and things don't.
The closest I ever felt to my father was when, as a child, he would wake me up at night to watch Creature Feature with Count Gore de Vol. We bonded over horror movies, and not much else. For most of my life he and I remained estranged. Though, I did form quite a deep love for the horror genre because of him.
Like most American kids, I grew up drinking sugar-saturated sodas and powdered drink mixes where you added a ton of sugar to them to make them go down quick and easy. My favorite cereals were Captain Crunch Berry, Count Chocula, Franken-Berry, & Boo-Berry. I loved the absurd cartoon creations and the monsters.
But with most things, growing up, one changes. I lost the desire for sugar cereals, soda, and those wonderfully chalky powdered drink mixes. So, I started searching for something to fill the gaps growing within me. I yearned for a connection to something....anything. I turned to music and art, and though I found a love for them, I did not find a connection to anyone or anything outside of myself. This constant searching led to an eclectic taste of music, film, literature, and eventually tea.
Though, finding good tea in Southern Maryland that did not have a pound of sugar in it was a struggle. Marylander's love their Iced Tea in the Southern fashion, with sugar & lemon. To me, adding such sweetness and bitterness covered up the actual taste of the tea itself. That has always felt criminal. There is so much to taste, from so many different kinds of teas. It is incredibly varied, and healthy! Tea is an amazing resource, and the commerce of it, literally, changed the face of the world!
But once I had found tea, and began making it a daily part of life, leaving sugar drinks behind. I found that connection to the world
that had been missing. It may not seem like much. But it was. Not having a true connection to where you grow up, or to the people you live with, and interact with on a daily basis is lonely. I'm not going to lie, I had a violent childhood. That violence compounded my loneliness and feelings of inadequacies. I did not grow up with a healthy self image or any confidence. I know it may seem small... tea is just a leaf, but in finding it, it gave me hope that there were actually things in the world that were meant for me. Tea helped me to ground myself in Hope. That hope helped me to survive some pretty hard times.
So, I began learning everything I could about tea. There was no Google or the internet back then. So, I checked books out of the library, studied the Encyclopedia, bought my own books, rented videos, and got my hands on as many different kinds of teas that I could. But I was only scratching at the surface.
Visiting Chinatown in San Francisco, during my twenties was the awakening I had been looking for. I spent weeks visiting the tea houses and shops, learning as much as I could. From there, I started studying tea manufacturing, cultivation, and culture by regions. I learned the Japanese Tea Ceremony. I got into Gong Fu teas and Yixing Pots. And I haven't stopped learning, or exploring the wide world of tea, yet.
Eventually, I began blending my own flavors. I was searching for ways to enhance the natural flavors of the tea with the natural flavors of fruits, nuts, and spices. I've never felt that one needs sugar for there to be sweetness. Eating a mango will teach anyone this. Life is full of flavor, if one looks. This creative experimentation and play led me to where I was mostly drinking, and sharing with friends, my own tea blends. Everyone seemed to like what I was doing, so I decided to share it with as many people as I could. The teas of the Vampyre Tea Company are my blends. These are the teas that I drink. The teas that I am honored to co-create with such a blessed plant. I hope you enjoy them and will share them with others. Each one is a Cup of Love - from me to you!