{14/05/2012}   Tea

I am an unrepentant, unashamed tea snob.  I rarely buy tea out because it’s usually a dusty teabag dunked in warm water.  Today, I paid 2.60 for such a tea.  I could feel a tea rage coming on, so I decided to write about it here instead of making a scene about tea standards.

At home, I use leaf tea and boiling water.  I also warm the teapot and leave it to stew for about five minutes.  I don’t care if that makes me a bit anal, it makes a mean cuppa that hits the spot every time.  As for teabags, I don’t object to them if they are good quality bags and good quality tea, but a tea that was just slightly up from a three‑year old budget supermarket teabag for 2.60 is a disgrace.

I was out with a friend once and I ordered a Tea Pig herbal tea.  She ordered a “normal” tea, which cost the same.  I got a nice drink, she ended up with a cup of warm water mixed with a glug or three of milk and a properly dusty, stale, barely flavoured “tea” bag submerged in the milky water.  She didn’t complain to the staff but that would have been too much for me to endure.  We are supposed to be a nation of tea drinkers but it would appear a lot of people have no idea what tea should taste like.

A good friend of mine lives near Harrogate and after years of visiting her and not getting the chance to go into Betty’s Tea Rooms, which she said was overpriced, overrated and overtouristed, we went.  However, her compromise was that we went to a different branch of Betty’s.  I was actually excited.  Guess what?  A poxy overpriced teabag.  The service wasn’t great either.  The tea was nice but I wouldn’t have whined about the price had there been a teapot, tea leaves, a tea strainer to complement my cup, saucer and milk jug.

One of the reasons teabags are a bit scandalous to me is that they are not 100% natural so taint the tea, and they are also not fully biodegradable as a general rule.  Cafes and restaurants must love it when we order tea: bung teabag in pot or cup of hot water, pour milk into jug and sell for a few pounds.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  I have just, unusually for this blog, done a bit of research.  According to the UK Tea Council, teabags account for 96% of tea drunk every day.  Oh, it pains me.

I love good tea.  It is pretty much always my first drink of the day, it always makes me do an “ahhh” sound after the first sip and it gives a good slow release caffeine buzz.  Without that one mug of tea (all other mugs of tea throughout the day are a bonus rather than a necessity) my day would be disastrous.  Ahhhh, tea.


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