When I was around twelve I discovered tea again as an herbal blend. My mother was getting tired of having the same tea all of the time so she brought home a box of Celestial Seasoning's Sleepytime. I started to have a cup or two at night when I didn't want to go to bed. By then, I was big enough to try my hot tea with sugar just like you would with iced tea. I liked it better because it wasn't as strong and it was sweeter because of the sugar, but I didn't drink it with gusto. Eventually tea became a thing to do with the family when my little brother started to refuse to go to bed without his cup of sleepytime tea.
I got my first job in high school and started to realize that I needed something to help get me out of bed in the morning. I had tried coffee many times at this point but everything was just too bitter. Plus the brand of coffee that my dad loved just tasted bad. I flirted with Starbucks on occasion, but started to remember my mother's love of tea. She started to drink it less but still had plenty of it around. Being a stubborn teenager, I wanted by own teabags and I didn't want to drink the stuff that my mom drank. I came back home with Twinings English Breakfast, Twinings Irish Breakfast, Twinings Lady Grey, and Twinings Earl Grey. I tried them and loved them. I would drink them plain or with milk or with sugar or with both milk and sugar. They were warm, comforting, and helped me feel in a better mood.
By the time I hit college I had started to proclaim my love of tea on the internet. That was when Steepster (an online tea community) found me. I joined and immediately started a love affair with tea. I discovered that the tea I loved so much actually came from a plant and that the tea that I picked up from the supermarket was not the only tea I could get. I started to discover companies like Adagio, Red Leaf Tea, Republic of Tea, Harney and Sons, and many more. I started to experiment with loose leaf and even thought about hiding my tea from my mom so she wouldn't think that the loose leaf green tea I had wasn't a drug (note: my mom is smarter than that) because my roommate thought my tea looked like pot.
Now I drink lots of different types of tea, have my very own tea kettle, my own personal french press to help me brew my tea, and I am constantly learning more things about it.
In response to the question "why tea?", I simply say this: tea tastes good and makes me feel good. Why don't you have a cup?