Caffeine in the form of cookies — what could be better?

Earl grey cookies. (Courtesy of sarajane.info)

It’s pleasant to eat cookies and wash them down with a nice cup of coffee. Why not have the two combined?

I received lots of comments and feedback from people who had sampled my coffee diamants last time or read my column.

They were mostly about how novel and convenient it was to have coffee (the caffeine) being incorporated into cookies. And they were pretty enthusiastic about the idea too.

So without further ado, I’ll introduce another quick caffeinated treat. And I’m hoping this will be a great crowd-pleaser with all those Earl Grey fans out there.

As a freshman I thought, “Swatties must love their tea.” Maybe it was just the people that I knew back then, but everyone around me seemed to carry steaming cups of tea with them everywhere.

The orchestra concertmistress constantly had a mug of tea with her in practice sessions; my freshman roommate was an avid tea drinker; and my friends would constantly go for tea after finishing their meals at Sharples.

Back then, I only had a vague idea of the health benefits of tea but was biased against the drink. Why did people like the plain and earthy taste?

Turns out, I had no idea about the wide world of tea. I disliked herbal teas, which are prevalent back home in Korea. They were too subtle for me. My father, who very frequently drinks tea, told me that I would soon come to really enjoy it. I never really believed him until I came to Swarthmore.

My freshman roommate was generous and always kept her tea stock open to me, so I sampled one of the fruity selections. Apple cinnamon. Fragrant, spicy and a little tangy. My taste buds approved.

Starting from the second semester of my freshman year, I had had a few cups of all of the fruity teas that Sharples had to offer. It was surprising actually, because I liked their flavors even though they had the characteristic herbal tea taste.

With fruity teas under my belt, I decided to try more black tea varieties. My first target was Earl Grey, mostly because I wanted to see why it was one of the most popular teas worldwide.

It was love at first sight. The distinctive aroma of something fragrant and deliciously smoky was extremely addictive. (I had five straight cups of it that first time, and just before going to bed too. Not the best idea if you’re sleep-deprived.)

I realized, then, that I actually did appreciate the earthy taste. I’ve had so many other kinds of tea since then, including English Breakfast, Chamomile, Ginger, Rooibos, Peppermint, Darjeeling and so much more. But I’ve remained (mostly) faithful to Mr. Earl Grey.

The secret to Earl Grey’s irresistible charm is that it is flavored with the oil of the Bergamot orange. The Bergamot is a small, acidic orange that is a close relative of the Seville orange, which is native to southern Vietnam. I imagine those Bergamots are what give the tea its powerful tang from the start of a sip.

I remember that a friend of mine told me she used to take 10 or more packs of Earl Grey tea out of Sharples. To keep her “stock’ filled up, of course. For those of you who have never tried Earl Grey before, these cookies will provide a good taste of the tea’s deep flavor. You’ll fall for these babies hook, line and sinker.

Lauren is a junior. You can reach her at lkim1@swarthmore.edu.

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