Spilling the tea: Dining halls offer plethora of new, flavorful beverages

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COURTESY PHOTO / WM.EDU

Before returning to the College of William and Mary for my sophomore year after spending my first summer back home, I was excited to come back for all but one reason: the food. After being lavishly fed delectable home-cooked and take-out meals alike at home, I could not imagine how I would react to whatever Sodexo had waiting for me back in Williamsburg.

While the food itself has been nowhere near as bad as I imagined it might be, there is one part of my dining hall experience that has absolutely blown away all of my expectations. Here’s the tea: it’s the tea.

Last week, I was able to serve as an Orientation Aide, and within two days of training my voice was already gone. I needed vocal backup, and fast. Luckily, Sodexo had my back. Both the Caf and Sadler were consistently stocked with a bevy of different teas, fitting for whatever flavor or feeling my sore throat desired.

The Caf was consistently stocked with “Numi” brand, offering a robust selection of standard types of tea. Since the Caf is close to where I live, the caffeinated options featured there were perfect for my early mornings.

Whether I wanted typical English Breakfast, Earl Grey or Yerba Mate, the Caf ensured my throat was soothed and my body energized for the long day ahead. Sadler, meanwhile, presented a diverse selection of “Bigelow” brand herbal teas, allowing for near constant tea drinking without fear of ingesting too much caffeine.

I don’t think I went a minute in Sadler without having a to-go mug full of “Cranberry Apple,” “Orange and Spice” or “Mint Medley” by my side, awaiting to keep me both hydrated and healthy.

The dining hall teas weren’t just matching my tea quality at home, but improving upon it. When I’m home, I prefer steeping my own tea, using a strainer and spooning out tea herbs myself.

That sort of commitment to making tea is plainly unrealistic in a fast-paced college environment, and Sodexo gets this by making the tea bag experience as pleasant as possible. With their variety, I can consistently have different teas, never growing bored of any one option.

Additionally, because the teas are served within the “all you can eat” dining hall format, I can try new teas with ease and without commitment.

If I don’t like a new tea, I didn’t lose any money; I can immediately return to the tea rack to drink something I know I enjoy and move on, without a worry in the world of having to now finish a whole box of it. While I might still begrudgingly miss the tastes of my hometown, I know that every time I walk into one of the College’s dining halls I will be greeted by an excellent selection of herbal goodies to try to my heart’s content.

While it might not be the same as using your own pot and kettle, Sodexo has crafted a wonderfully collegiate tea experience for anyone looking for vocal support or plain old good flavor on the go. Keep the tea pouring, guys. My cup has yet to runneth over.

Email Anthony Madalone at asmadalone@email.wm.edu.