Thank you all for putting up with the joke about making a cup of tea from two bits of a marijuana bud. Total effect: I smiled because I got past everyone else’s anxieties and anticipations. This personal finance and amateur philosopher blog is not going to turn into a strictly cannabis culinary experiment. But, frugality can become such a habit that it is hard to see it in operation well enough to discuss it. I certainly don’t have any habits built up around cannabis, and there are certainly cautions and curiosities about it; so, I realized this is an opportunity to explore both. If I didn’t tell you that, you might have had a tough time figuring out how I do things. Welcome to the real step one of the culinary explorations of an engineer, geek, artist, entrepreneur, and innovator.
I like tea. There’s a frugal sentence. Few words, few syllables, few letters. When my pantry is full, it will usually contain about three dozen varieties of black, white, green, oolong, pu-erh, herbs, spices, and combinations. Less than half are in tea bags. I keep bags around for convenience and for guests who are unfamiliar with loose leaf tea. Loose leaf tea, however, is my favorite. There’s no doubt about what’s going into the pot and cup. The leaves haven’t been processed as much, they keep longer, I can control the portions, and mix them for the fun of it. It is a good thing that I have several friends who operate tea shops. The three with tea in my cupboard right now are Dandelion Botanical (Ballard and online), Green Willow Living (on hiatus, but maybe not for much longer), and a place in Langley that’s so new that I can’t remember their name.
Tea is frugal. It is cheaper than coffee. The better the tea, the more likely the leaves can be used two or three times. Tea is made from dead leaves and boiling water. The only thing simpler would either be dead leaves, or boiling water. I did the boiling water trick last week. Dead leaves are a salad, or a garnish, or chewing tobacco. Salads are good, but I don’t want to drink one. Garnishes are – well – useless, except for ambiance, which has its place. Chewing tobacco, shudder. I’ve worked with people who drank Coke, then refilled the can with tobacco spit. Shudder again. Yeah, tea is much better.
Tonight’s tea will be green, and unaltered. True green tea has been oxidized. I’m using my marijuana as is. Tea is typically measured in teaspoons. Duh. But, I portion mine out depending on mood, need for or to avoid caffeine, whether food is involved, how much I’ll make, how long I’ll let it steep, and whether it ends up in a thermos. No. I am not going to bore you with all of those details. Tea is simple the way the game of Go is simple.
I suspect that a teaspoon of marijuana leaves in a cup or two of boiling water might be a bit overpowering. I break the rules of tea preparation by using about that much for a liter of tea – and then I’m amazed at how much tea a barista will shove into a bag for a cup. They know coffee. I’m met few who know anything about tea.
Marijuana, however, supposedly doesn’t infuse well into water. Most recipes suggest adding fat to draw out the influential chemicals. Add a bit of butter or milk, and the effects are heightened, so I hear. So, if I was making a cup of black tea, I’d use less than a teaspoon. I’d also only leave the leaves in the water for five minutes. For marijuana, I decided to use an eighth of a teaspoon (to sneak up on the effect), but leave it in the water for an hour. An hour’s steep is long enough for the water to cool down; but such long steeps are common with teas made of bark (cinnamon), roots (licorice), and berries. The geek in me would enjoy making a matrix of test batches, but let’s stay practical here. This is not my career. This is one way I hope to enjoy the compensations for my labors.
Pardon me as I sip a bit to check for flavor.
Not bad. A few folks told me the flavor would have to be masked, but maybe they put too much in. This is fine as is. The effect probably won’t be immediate, or even noticeable for so few leaves. A bit of honey is always welcome, so maybe I’ll add that if I reheat the tea.
Debates continue to rage, and elections are about to be held. More states are asking voters to decide about legalizing marijuana. It is easy to get trapped in escalating debates that spiral away from any sense of perspective. Frequently, it is quicker, cheaper, and easier to try instead of talk. Minimalists can get their start by decluttering one shelf a month. Investors can get their start by buying a few shares of one stock. Some things aren’t gradual or reversible. Rockets require commitment and a tolerance for risk. Many things can be taken one step at a time, stopped, restarted, redirected, and kept in control.
Oh, and about reusing tea leaves, I’ll give that a try too. After they’ve done their tea duty, I’ll put them in melted butter that gets drizzled across this evening’s popcorn. Who said frugality isn’t fun?