Did you know that today was National Tea Day? I didn’t until just recently and neither did my sister Natalie, who is pretty addicted to tea. Today she’s guest posting for me about why she loves tea!
Today is National Tea Day, which I didn’t know existed, but being British it makes perfect sense; shouldn’t this be a National holiday?? The British are famously a nation of tea lovers, however to most people this is milky ‘builders tea’ which has a large sugar to tea ratio. I’ve never been a fan. In fact, I never used to like tea at all. I can remember trying my first cup of herbal tea at college where i was studying holistic therapies with a group of middle age fruity tea lovers. Going for a cup of tea on our breaks meant going for a fruit infusion which I knew wasn’t popular or common due to the servers offering milk and biscuits with the fruit tea, neither of which were necessary or complimentary. How I have gone from there, to hoarding tea like there is a nationwide shortage of it is a mystery to me. I think that the growing popularity of fruit and green teas has meant that these days there is something for everyone, and the availability of this in most cafes and restaurants means that you can easily avoid coffee without having to resort to a sugary cold drink. There is a huge selection at supermarkets along with a small amount of great speciality shops. Not only has the availability of flavours expanded, but so has the trend for stylish tea wear; from cast iron tea sets, to antique tea sets.
At present I have enough tea to last me a few years. This doesn’t mean that i will stop buying tea for the next few years, I have a collection that I steadily add to because I cannot stop myself from buying tea of unusual and interesting flavours. Don’t get me wrong, I love the basics. I mostly drink flavoured green teas from Twinings – they’re an institution, you can’t go wrong with them. But I also have a collection of loose teas that I try to drink less frequently; they’re more expensive than tea bags and require more effort to diffuse before drinking. I’m particularly a fan of T2, a speciality tea store company with a few stores in England. I visit the shop on Tottenham Court Road in central London and rarely leave without buying at least one tea. Their tea comes in bright square containers and they sell a massive range of flavours. They sell a good range of traditional tastes, including high end green teas which come at an extra cost but they also sell some fun desert flavours – their caramel tea is simply delicious. Also in London is Postcard Tea which is a tiny shop you can find on Dering Street in Mayfair, not far from Oxford Circus. They only sell tea from farmers with very small plantations, so the tea is fairly rare. Of the tea I’ve bought the taste is incredibly delicate and unusual. I try to add to my collection when I travel too, tea tends to be the main thing I bring back from holidays these days. My favourite acquisitions so far has been coconut black tea from the Caribbean and a small pot of loose tea I bought from Angelina which I bought when i visited Versailles during a recent trip to Paris.
Although drinking tea is done daily and usually without much thought, I think it is worth considering taking the time to at least once go for afternoon tea, an activity which I feel is becoming more popular. It’s worth finding somewhere that has a good selection of teas on offer so that you can pair your meal with a variety of blends to accompany your cakes and finger sandwiches. Okay, so this meal isn’t all about the tea, but I think there’s something about finger sandwiches and miniature cakes being paired with teas, that are brewed in beautiful tea pots, which is worth experiencing.
Are you a tea drinker? If you are, what is your favourite?