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Beast for tea

September 7, 2011

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.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Victoria Bird permalink
    September 9, 2011 8:46 am

    Yummm… tea. Always good for the soul.

    I need to know the name of the Oxford tapas bar, as I have a friend who is dangerously obsessive about gunpowder tea 😉

    Great blog Helen. Very enlightening.

    • September 9, 2011 1:08 pm

      Its the Kasbah about 10 mins walk out of Oxford along the Cowley Road on the left, It is a great bar, good food, music and cocktails and of course MInt Tea

      this is a perfect image!!

  2. Geoff permalink
    September 12, 2011 12:57 pm

    Tis’ an interesting thing, tea is my little bit of pleasure. Trying different varieties, good and bad!
    In my room at the moment Helen, you could share the delights of Golden Yunnan, Jasmine, Oolong or even Lung Ching. The later being of interest to some for its health benefits (


  3. May 19, 2012 10:21 pm

    Tea rules! An Australian friend swears Almond tea is the best thing in the world but for the life of me I can’t find it in the UK. Best start saving up for the air fare!


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