Category Archives: Tea Chatter

Sri Lanka

Beautifully shot video about the tea industry in Sri Lanka that I’ve just stumbled upon.

[Sorry, can’t embed it, but go here to watch!]

Leave a comment

Filed under Tea Chatter

The Royal Wedding: another good excuse for a tea party

I can’t say I’m particularly fond of our bunch of royals, but the impending marriage of Prince William and the descendant of a coal miner (class system? ha!..) does give an excellent excuse to dust off your best china, splurge on some excellent tea and hang up some bunting in the street like its 1953 (or indeed 1935). Find a big trestle table, stick it in the middle of the road and brew for all your hearts desire.

I’d personally avoid the overwhelming and slightly ludicrous selection of specially blended royal teas, such as this from Twinnings:

or this from Clipper:

and instead keep your tongue firmly in your cheek with these from Donkey:

TomA

1 Comment

Filed under Tea Chatter, Tea Design

Why coffee shop tea is a sorry affair

Elaborate coffee shops have shaped city streets, yet it seems that it’s increasingly hard to find a decent cup of tea when you’re out and about.  Despite the larger chains’ elaborate, snarling coffee machines, they take precious little care over the tea they serve.  Often dispensed as what looks like a bowl of hot water accompanied by a papered tea-bag, a cup of coffee shop tea is a disappointing affair.  These coffee shops market both the mechanised machismo of the gargantuan gaggias and coffee’s conspicuous consumption.

The magic of these coffees is in the boastful bashing of granules, the swirling steam, the oozing milky froth and the visual effect of carrying around an enormous pseudo-personalised, sugared, syruped, synthetic concoction for all to see.  And so, in contrast, tea is constructed as something humble, something unassuming; something sometimes twee or nostalgic, something mundane and austere.  Yet for its simplicity there is an art to making a cup of tea.

A cup of tea is a cliché, a cup of tea is the stiff upper lip.  Chain coffees are milky, infantalising as they ape our first tastes.  Tea is grown-up comfort.  Making a cup of tea for someone is a personal act, not a mechanical one.  Tea cannot be made to another’s taste from an order over the counter.  A cup of tea doesn’t come from some regulated, branded, faux-authentic name and artificial flavours.  Milk and two sugars is about as complex a request as you’re likely to get, so you make tea the way you learned to, rather than how you were taught.  Making tea for someone can be very personal.  Sometimes a cup of tea is all you can do to help, be it a bad day in the office or something much worse.

In a documentary shown after his death, Roald Dahl said that one of the hardest things about his wife’s illness, was the knowledge that there was nobody at home to offer him a cup of tea at the day’s end.

Of course coffee shops can’t get it right.  Tea needs care and thought, not practice and explosive machines.

el

3 Comments

Filed under Tea Chatter, Tea Room

The beautiful outdoors

One of my favourite spots to take tea is a small cafe on the Swedish coast. Tables are outside a small summer house, hidden amongst small outcrops in the rock face. Once you’ve navigated (the occasionally treacherous) path down, carefully balancing your tray of tea and goodies, you can escape the rest of the world, stare out to sea and watch swans in the foreground and the boats navigating by lighthouse in the distance.

Where do you like to take tea?

TomA

Leave a comment

Filed under Tea Chatter

Back from my fika break

Sorry. It has been far too long since I’ve had time to update this site but we’re back once more. My excuse: I’ve been spending lots of time in Sweden, enjoying fika (=eating lots of cake and drinking lots of tea and/or coffee). More on fika soon, along with a selection of Swedish teas I’ve been meaning to review for ages….

TomA

Leave a comment

Filed under Tea Chatter

Tea Hanger

This has made the rounds on a few blogs already, so I’m a bit late to the (tea) party, but how amazing is this, from Yanko Design? Sadly, with the amount of tea I get through I’d need a whole walk in closet to store it all….

Miss B x

Leave a comment

Filed under Tea Chatter

On a cold day…

… nothing beats a good cuppa …

TomA

Leave a comment

Filed under Tea Chatter