“The very act of preparing and serving tea encourages conversation. The little spaces in time created by teatime rituals call out to be filled with conversation. Even the tea itself–warm and comforting-inspires a feeling of relaxation and trust that fosters shared confidences.” ~ Emilie Barnes, If Teacups Could Talk
I think I’ve mentioned before that I love tea. I drink ridiculous amounts of the stuff, it’s one of the things that people know about me. I’m not a fan of wedding gift lists, I don’t like the way they make present giving so impersonal, so whenever I’m sent one I always hope that there’s a tea-pot on there. That way I can be sure the people I’m buying it for will surely be able to associate the gift with me. So I was very pleased when I moved house a few months ago that I now have the space to devote a whole cupboard, or at least a whole shelf in one way – to my tea collection.
At last count I had fifteen different types of tea, some Cadbury’s drinking chocolate, and a tube of Berocca-type effervescent tabs for those mornings when tea just isn’t going to cut it. There’s usually some biscuits in there as well, but I polished off the last half of the packet about ten minutes before I decided to take that photo.
You’ll notice that there’s absolutely no coffee in there though. I cannot drink coffee; I’d really like to, I think it would sound so much more sophisticated to be a connoisseur of coffee than of tea but I just cannot acquire a taste for it. In fact my dislike for it is so strong that it makes me gag, and even the smell of coffee makes feel nauseous. Which has led to quite a few misunderstandings when I’ve started new jobs. You know how when everyone comes into work early in the morning the first thing that happens is that someone gets a line of morning wake-up coffees going? Well I need my morning cup of tea just as surely as those others need their coffees, but being in a confined kitchen with all that coffee aroma can make me feel quite queasy. So then one or two people will notice that I’m feeling a bit sick; and that it’s the morning. And then they notice that the same things happens the next morning, and the one after. Before you know it there’s a bunch of rumours going around that it looks like the new girl might be pregnant and planning to leave again already.
So to the teas – from left to right we have:
- Some basic green tea bags from the local Chinese supermarket – you can’t beat a good green tea, I always think that drinking it feels the same as taking a really nice shower, only on the inside of your body.
- There’s some Sainsbury’s Fair trade decaffeinated tea – this is left over from a visit by a friend who recently decided that she was allergic to caffeine. I’m not sure about this one myself, I’m not sure that I see the point of black tea minus the caffeine kick.
- Then there’s a box of PG Tips – my favourite of all the teas, nothing makes things feel better like a nice cup of PG; I take it with a splash of milk and half a spoonful of sugar.
- In front of the PG Tips are a couple of boxes of Marks and Spencer’s strawberry and raspberry tea – like a cup of warm Ribena, only healthier.
- Next to it there’s a box of Twinning’s green jasmine tea – which is like green tea only sweetened with jasmine flowers. This is good for people who’d like to switch to drinking green tea for the health benefits but are put off by the bitterness.
- On top of that there’s some Mark’s and Spencer’s lemon, ginger and ginseng tea – this is one of my favourites, especially in cold weather. It helps when you’re feeling sniffly or have a sore throat as well.
- Then there are a few Higher Living white tea bags floating about – I picked those up to see what they’d be like. It’s a refreshing tea, and tastes not so much fruity as vegetably, if you can describe a drink that way; I’m not so sure that I’ll be hurrying to buy a whole box of it though.
- In front of those there’s the Mark’s and Spencer’s peppermint tea – this is another one of my essentials, particularly when my stomach is upset, I have a hangover, or I’m just generally feeling sorry for myself.
- And next to that is some Mark’s and Spencer’s cranberry and elderflower tea – this one has quite a sharp, tangy taste to it, it’s nice but none one of the ones I drink most often.
- The pink box at the back contains some Chai tea, which I think is also M&S’ own (the reason I have so many teas from there is that I bought them all at the same time, I think it was buy one get one free or something) – another tea that comes into it’s own in the winter months when you’ll appreciate a nice, spicy pick-me-up as you get in from the cold. I think the main ingredient in this one is cinnamon.
- Next to that we have a box of Twinning’s Assam tea – a black tea similar to English breakfast but with a bit of an extra kick to it. I got into drinking this when another friend came to visit who insists that no matter how strong you make it breakfast tea just doesn’t do it for him.
- And in the red packet on the end are dried flower heads for making chrysanthemum tea – this a nice enough tasting flowery tea, I actually enjoy drinking it as much for the novelty of drinking a cup full of flowers as for the taste of the tea.
- In the yellow wrapping atop of the Assam box is dried rose petal tea which my friend in India sent over a present – I haven’t actually tried this one out yet but it smells like potpourri.
- The green cylinder with a picture of a tea-pot on it contains some loose leaf green jasmine tea that I bought in a tea house in Souzhou, China – it’s by far the nicest green jasmine tea I’ve ever tasted.
- In front of that you’ll see that I still have a few of my Time to Change #TimetoTalk tea bags left.
- And then in the little red tin is some loose leaf lemon verbena tea from Lahloo Tea, the online tea store – this one is crisp, refreshing, and, well, lemony; I like it.
How about you, what’s your must have beverage?