Beast for tea
This title has been carefully chosen, for my taste for teas, pots and caddies is like that of a beast in search of prey. The only stipulation is that the tea should not be in a bag unless I put it there.
I used to roam greedily and indiscriminately from Fortnum and Mason, to the Algerian Coffee Shop and obscure market stalls. However, the beast has come – of – age and the search has become slower and more refined.
It was not until I realised that I was intolerant to dairy that I began to drink tea without milk, then discovered how refreshing ‘black’ tea is. At first I stayed with familiar blends like afternoon or breakfast; then I found a taste for the more delicate greens. Now, no leaf remains unturned, I enjoy, green, black and white. I have no preference between Indian and Chinese, and am not averse to teas from South America. My daughter sent me a little mate tea gourd and some tea that cheers me when Brazil and she seems so far away!
Mate is a traditional South American drink made with yerba mate leaves infused in hot water. It is served in a hollow calabasha gourd and sucked through a metal straw called a bombilla
I have found a taste for chamomile tea. I am able to get the beautiful dried flowers quite easily from my local herbalist and those steeped in boiling water make a lovely night-time drink. I also find a jasmine flower tea-ball particularly pleasing ; the ball is made with green tea leaves tied round a jasmine flower , this can reused until the flavour has gone, even then it retains its healthy benefits and perfume . Studies have shown that people who drink the beverage live longer, have fewer heart attacks and strokes and significantly lessen their chances of contracting cancer.
My partner and I go to a tapas bar in Oxford where they serve very nice mint tea that is made with Gunpowder which is a green tea with a little caffeine, so it has a nice kick that prompts an immediate sense of well being!
But this is not a search for sophistication and enlightenment; it is more an expedition of passion and growth. Also a hope that one day I will enjoy a cuppa in Brazil, the foothills of the Himalayas and maybe China.
I would like to learn about the art of tea making and at what time of day ‘they’ should be enjoyed and which food they best accompany. I hope you will remain watchful as the beast once more ventures into unknown territory.