Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Tea - definitely the best drink of the day

Delight of delights today I am sitting drinking - no that verb is not sufficiently descriptive for what I am doing - I am luxuriating in a cup of  jasmine tea. It is the best cuppa I have had since left the UK in early Nov 2009. First there was the delight of seeing the box of tea within my goody box that arrived this morning from ex vol H, not just tea, but jasmine tea. H knows I don't necessarily get milk every day, so great choice. Then there was the smell when I opened the packet of tea - ah, the aroma is as much a part of the delight of drinking this type of tea as the taste. In the case of jasmine tea this comes from the flowers of the jasmine being used in the tea, to give that extra punch to the aroma of the tea. Then there is the aroma released on pouring the boiling water - yes folks, tea can only seriously be made with freshly boiled water, unlike coffee which needs slightly cooler water to release the best flavours  of the beans. There is always a  comfort factor when you hold a cup of hot tea in your hands. Then finally there is the taste, in the mouth, as you swallow and finally the after swallowing taste.
Yes, you guessed it, tea is a passion of mine. I love it. I can easily drink 10 cups a day at home. With milk, without milk, usually without sugar but there are two exceptions to that - Tuareg style and Indian chai style teas.
Tea can be a drink to savour on your own, in our favourite armchair with a good book, in the company of friends with good conversation at the end of a meal, or telling stories round the campfire. Tea is never out of place - it is good in the most exquisite of china cups, a glass, or a billy can. Only once have I ever had the tea ceremony conducted for me, courtesy of N when we were in  Singapore. It was weird being "waited" on in that sort of way, but still an interesting experience.  My favourite teas are normally black teas, although I do drink green teas, white teas and herbal infusions. There are only two teas I have ever tasted that are really not to my taste buds preference - mint tea and roobois.
Unfortunately here in India the best teas clearly don't make it to Rayagada, they probably all go for export. Maybe you can get some in areas like Darjeeling, but the local shops here stock bog standard Tata tea - for those of you in the UK that's the equivalent of PG Tips, mass market, end of run dust. Before I left the UK my teas of choice was a Grand Keemum and a Ceylon Kenilworth which I used to import via Betjeman & Barton I don't consider myself a tea snob but I just know what like. And today I liked my cuppa :) 

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