As I finger-stomp my keyboard, I can hear an aeroplane zoom above my head. It’s 23:42 GMT in a little woodland pocket near Heathrow airport. “Lucky buggers”, I think to myself. The prospect of a holiday is all too exciting yet distant from reality right now. That trivial thing called a master’s thesis is the responsible, almighty wedge.
“So how does this relate to tea?”, I hear you say.
Tea is global. The end. Well, there’s a bit more to say than that. I think this awesome book from teapigs explains this for us visuals (yes, I have just abbreviated visual learners to visuals). There’s a relatively funny story with how I came to own this book but I think I’ll save it for another day…
As tea is so global, have you ever thought about going on holiday to buy tea or buying tea while you’re on holiday? I’m sure most sane people fall into the latter but I’m starting to fall into the former *facepalm*. In my first post, I talked about how I bought some rose tea from Goa as a souvenir and it changed my whole perspective on rose-flavoured things. When you travel, you are more likely to try new things and tea can be one of those things.
Here’s a few to get you started… If you’re going to Taiwan try some quirky bubble tea and grab yourself some authentic oolong. If you’re going to India, make a bee line for Darjeeling and Assam states to see the tea plantations. If you’re going to China, Yunnan is tea territory. If you’re heading to the Morocco, mint is a way of life. The list goes on, but you get the picture. Why don’t you google tea at your next destination? You might be surprised. (Plus, it might be a useful, lifeline souvenir for a tea-lover you know.)
Which brings me onto my next point… Tea souvenirs!
My parents recently went to Vietnam to enjoy their pearl wedding anniversary. Something unusual for them. While I was probably feeling a wee bit jealous, a WhatsApp from my dear mother asking “Would you like us to get you a teapot?” Music to my ears (or art to my eyes). The conversation went like this…
Reading back, I seem ungrateful. Some kind of tea diva.
Here is my authentic Vietnamese teapot with 4 cups for tea sharing.
And the tea.
Lotus (Nelumbo lucifera) tea next to David Austen’s Sweet Juliet rose
Enter Gohya (bitter melon) tea next to a peony (Paeonia species).
Ying and Yang
At first, I wondered what this lily-looking tea was and why Dad had picked this of all possible teas in Vietnam (again, diva!) I tasted with suspect to find it had suitably light, floral notes which is nothing like I had tasted before. Catch up on a previous post about floral tea here.
“Oooooooo melon tea!”, one thought. Nope. It turns out it’s quite an acquired taste and I won’t be changing my tea habits anytime soon for the supposed diuretic health benefits. I’m afraid this one will be well acquainted with the dust on my shelf.
The moral of the story:
Never judge a book by its cover and never judge a tea before you try it!
Pownall, M.R., 2017.
Since then, other generous family members have jetted to lands a-sunny and brought me back a selection of Zanzibarian teas along with a real life hippopotamus. Thanks sis and bro-in-law. (Dryopteris species not included in the gift).
Vanilla, mint and banana in that order.
Since then, a good friend Holly came back from Romania with some very earthy elderflower tea among others which made for a great tea party.
So it turns out, you don’t have to travel for tea. You can let tea come to you. Where will your tea take you?