By Katrina Liu

I grew up in a tea-loving family. My parents have at least one cup of tea every day. My dad collects tea leaves from different parts of China and always jokingly scolds me when I put honey in my tea.

“True tea doesn’t need anything else in it, Katrina.”

Well, sorry, Dad. I don’t have the complex palette you do when it comes to the “purity” of tea. At least, not yet.

However, I think I’m getting there. I’m starting to have preferences on what kind of tea I prefer — well, more like what kind of tea I don’t prefer.

I think it’s because I’ve started relying on caffeine more in college. After one class, I usually look to my bed, longing for a nap, even when I know I have so much work to do. That’s when I start boiling the water. Because if the caffeine itself doesn’t work, the mentality will. If I convince myself it’s the caffeine keeping me awake, I’ll stay awake. It’s the placebo effect. 

On the other hand, I’ve always enjoyed coffee. It’s gotten to the point where I know I like coffee and I know how I like it prepared. 

However, I turn to coffee when I need a bigger caffeine boost. If I know it’s going to be a long day, I’ll order Dunkin’, Starbucks or, ideally — if I’m home — my mom will make a cup for me and herself. 

But I don’t just drink these beverages purely for the caffeine, even if that is a helpful component. I’ve actually started enjoying the taste.

Is this what getting older feels like? I don’t know if I like it. Next thing you know, I’ll actually enjoy black coffee instead of turning my nose against it. 

This is really just an indulgent rant about how much I’ve learned about these two beverages and how much more I still have to learn. I may have my favorites, but perhaps I should also expand my horizons and be willing to try more kinds of tea and coffee with different preparations. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. 

Another point I want to make is how much older I feel after not only admitting that I like these two beverages, but also that I have preferences. As a kid, I always saw my parents start their day with a steaming mug. Now, I’ve joined them.  

So maybe instead of this being a post declaring my love for tea and coffee, it may be a cry for help.

I’m growing up and I don’t know if I like it. 

But I am willing to explore the depth of these delicious drinks.