Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To Ice, Or Not To Ice?

I received this delicious, Pineapple Barley tea as a gift a few weeks ago.  I love hot tea and have been enjoying this new flavor immensely, even through the summer heat.  I always serve tea to my English students, and usually stick to American tea (my students are always interested to see all the  different fruit flavors with which Americans contaminate green tea), but this Pineapple Barley was so delicious that I had to share.  I'd never had barley tea before, and the pineapple was an extremely bright, unexpected addition.

"Mmmmmmm.  Is this Barley tea?"  -My student
"Yes, it is!  How did you know?"  -Me
"Barley tea is very popular in the summer!  Sometimes, it's served iced." -My student

Now, I've lived in Japan long enough to know that any time one of my students makes a statement which is preceded by "sometimes," "maybe," "possibly," or "perhaps," I need to pay attention, because said statement is often NOT a maybe/possibly/perhaps situation, but actually a statement of fact.  As in, "Maybe this situation with my coworker is very stressful." This is definitely a stressful situation.

The Pineapple Barley tea is from Lupicia, a popular tea shop chain.  The super cute mug is from a local shop.

I went for further clarification.

"So you're saying barley tea is sometimes served iced?  Or always served iced?" -Me
"It's usually served iced, yes!"  -My student
"I'm serving this incorrectly, by brewing hot barley tea?" (I'm American! I like definitive answers!) -Me
"Oh, no, it's delicious!  I think I've only ever had cold barley tea, though." (You idiot, why would anyone drink barley tea hot?)  -My student

And that's the story of my life in Japan!  I bumble around doing something completely incorrect for months, until finally an English student clears up the situation for me.  Thank-goodness for my students.  I always wonder, in my English classes, who is actually teaching whom?

The weather is finally cooling down outside, and hot tea sounds much more pleasant than iced tea, right now.  So tuck this post in your memory for next summer, and serve delicious, iced barley tea!

Disclaimer:  I do my best to make sure all my information is accurate.  However, details may change or I may just be flat-out wrong.  Please let me know if something needs a correction.  Thank-you!


  1. Hahahaha! Gotta love the recap of conversations with locals! I love the observation about the "maybe, perhaps, possibly" semantics. And iced pineapple barley tea sounds really good... let's definitely tuck that one away for next summer, you and me :)

  2. Update: I was in Kyoto and a restaurant served me hot barley tea. So there you go. Barley tea is served cold. Except for when it isn't.