As I embarked on a bit of spring-clean of my flat, I found myself looking through my kitchen cupboards, in particular my tea cupboard. A few friends and I are convinced that tea makes the world a better place and as a Brit, it probably comes as no surprise that I have a rather tidy collection of different teas. As I hauled them all out for a quick reorganisation, it made me realise just how much I love tea, not just how they taste, but also how there is such a huge variety of blends. It also helps that I love the packaging of some of them!
Having ‘tea’ is such a social activity. It’s comforting, you get to bring out cute teacups and teapots, or if you go for afternoon tea, you can enjoy little finger sandwiches and scones with your friends. A recent visit to Another Fine Day in Central for afternoon tea had us all cooing over the cutlery and teapots as well as their pretty crockery. But really, it’s the process of sipping a blend of Earl Grey or Ceylon or whatever is your tea of choice that I find extremely relaxing and enjoyable.
My collection of teas at home is dwindling at the moment, but I still have a decent variety. I recently rediscovered Boh Tea from Malaysia and have been slowly making my way through the Passionfruit Orange blend and the Lychee Rose which can be quite strong but is so aromatic when it steeps. My friends know that I love teas, and one brought back from Nepal a few bags of Masala Chai, Green tea and other herbal blends. A current favourite is a tea called Icewine Tea, which another friend brought back all the way from Whistler, Canada. This Canadian blend has classic “Ceylon” characters with a floral bouquet, specifically grapes, which gives off a beautiful fragrance when brewed and is a lovely, subtle tea to enjoy at anytime.
My Yorkshire Gold tea is a home comfort that reminds me of university days, though normally back home, I would have PG Tips. I had a uni friend who would barely dunk his Yorkshire teabag into hot water before pouring in almost half a cup of milk, that I could scarcely bear to waste the teabag and would use the same teabag to infuse myself a perfectly cuppa straight after!
Yet another tea gift came from Japan, and I have been delighted by a selection given to me of gyokuro (a type of shaded green tea), obukucha (which is a new year’s tea in Kyoto) and genmaicha (brown rice tea). These refined teas always leave me feeling cleansed and healthy.
So sit back and relax with a brew and a good book, and if you’re a coffee addict, why not try a cup of tea for a change?