Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tea, and stuff called tea, a rant about tastes.

I think about some 20 years ago I got acquainted to Tea.
I write Tea with a capital T as it was an eye opener for me.
Sure I did drink tea before, or stuff supposed to be tea but more likely stuff wiped from a warehouse floor. I don’t want to offend anyone but the tea we drank at home was rather boring and dull, and smelled ancient. So one time a friend brought me some tea from the UK, and I was sold.
It was Earl Gray from Fortnum & Mason in some silly but good looking tin, in the form of a book. 'The story about tea' the book/tin was called. Good grief, that tea was vibrant with an extract of bergamot oil and tasted like some expert had just made the blend and poured it in my teapot about 5 minutes ago. I was stunned, to think I was teased by something as silly as a tin looking like an old book?

This tea made me go out and shop for more. I have to say I found both bad, and really good tea’s. I felt very odd and dumb when that friend brought me another gorgeous tin of superb tea from Fortnum & Mason in London and told me even the Queen of England shops there. Good grief, I was shocked when I heard the price of this tin some time later from a friend from the UK.
One other tea company that really blew me away was the Kwong Sang tea corporation from Hong Kong. The most boring Chinese 'tourist like' tins you can ever imagine. Similar to tins that you would like to show off in the seventies. But the tea, good grief, was all about culture. I have tasted at least 15 of their blends, and even one with Jasmine flowers. It really is a great tea, which will also help you out a lot when you have eaten that tiny bit too much.

Now I don’t know why I have stopped drinking tea for a while? I guess just as I wasn’t giving myself the time to really enjoy it I think. So if I am in a rush, I’d rather make a quick cup of coffee. That said, I have missed the times enjoying a good cup of tea, but that is life, isn’t it? Having kids and being busy, doing household chores combined with working and trying to have some time for a hobby doesn’t really leave you much time. I don’t feel sorry for myself; I have great kids and a nice home and all. Seems to be daft and all, but I just did not want to, or give myself the time to enjoy a good cup of tea.

Now all of the sudden my wife tells me she wants to drink more tea, so I was elated to say the least. Lovely, do you know the Chinese tea rituals? I began picturing them, with the tranquillity that accompanies them. Ah dreaming off, I just was looking forward to taking some time once in a while. I seem to be running around a lot lately. So I started to shop for tea, getting some nice ones both Chinese and English and made a good cup of tea just before the missus arrived back home. She liked it and all, but after a few tastes she asked; Have you got something with fruit next time? Blueberry tea, that is tea with blueberry taste, I like that . . . . .
I do know a herbal remedy with blueberry leaves, but tea with a blueberry taste??

Is baffled the right word? Stunned? Disgusted?
Tea with blossom, like the Chinese do, I can get that and that is still tea to me. Tea with a few drops of lemon juice, yes I can get that also. Faking it with lemon zest I don’t as I 'DO' taste the difference.
Still I can sort of get that as it is a lazy way of almost having the same. But tea with fruit ??
I thought tea was about leaves, growing on the hills of Ceylon, being picked at just the right moment? Or Korean green tea, made from tea leaves, which are still green. Fermented leaves, tea leaves mined, that I can get too and I know that tastes good. Have you ever sat next to someone drinking that kind of stuff with forest fruits?? That smells like my compost bin, a week after I have made some good juice or syrup for the kids. Ever wonder what it would be like to kiss someone that just had a sip of that compost tea?
Worse even are those fruit teas that contain aroma’s and no real fruit, all you get is a tea that has been sitting next to a bag of fruit, if at all. ( am I using the word tea for this stuff?? ) 
For my wife I tried a few and they were bloody awful, I love tea, but not an infusion between a candy store and a compost bin!

So trying to find common ground we tried some herbal infusions, some people call that tea even though it is usually not made from the leaves of the tea bush. I am sorry, but we failed in that too. So I drink coffee, and when I need a break, I drink real tea from tea leaves.

I do still buy tea for my wife, I just don’t buy melon or forestfruit infusion or whatever the word is.
Doing that it struck me really, that the prices are out of this world with those tea bags. Now you even have those pyramid tea bags, where tea can float around more in the water, and you have a lot less tea per package for more money. Now 20 teabags for 2,99, and for that money I cannot even feed the leftovers to my worms as the bags are from plastic. AARGH !!

So, please help me out here!
I get the best loose Jasmine tea 250 grams for 5 Euro, from the Kwong Sang Tea corporation. Put a good spoonful of tea leaves with a bit of flower blossom in a pot and you have about 4 cups of great tea, that smells like perfume from a good looking Asian stewardess from Asian Airlines. So that tin will make you the best 100 pots of tea, from free floating leaves that are super happy for 5 Euro.
So !
Why on earth would I buy tea containing the leftovers from making fruit juice, in plastic pyramid bags that even the worms can not digest, 2.99 Euro for 20 cups????

I’ll get my coat,
rant over !

Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer


  1. I like tea, but an very picky when i drink it... but unlike coffee i do use a general brand.... I drink Yorkshire Tea!

  2. Sounds good to me, as long as it is not spiked with berries or so. I do like English breakfast tea as well, just the regular stuff.

  3. I also enjoy a good cup of tea.
    And have been spoiled in the 5 years I lived in Turkey, because there you can get some really good lose tea!

    So when I came back to live in Holland I first was confronted with these teabags you mentioned.
    Second I was confronted with the fact that even if I left the bags in for 10 minutes, I still thought it was a light tea.
    But now I have found one that I first did not expect anything from, but was blown away by flavor.
    It is a tea bought in Germany (only 15 minutes away by car) in the name of Buenting.
    It was an orange package for 0.69 euro for 50 bags!!!
    Next time I will definitely buy more, as this will only last me a few more days (a little bit more than 2 weeks).

    Loved your story, sorry to add mine lol.

  4. Ha cool !!

    No no sorry, I love what you tell there. I often take a bunch with me from the UK. Germany he, I should keep my eyes open ! Thanks

    Cheers Bart