I have just returned from Shetland, and I do mean to blog about the trip (after a big hiatus here…). Before I start posting some of my many photos (see sneak peek photo), I have to write about something else. No…not food, not yarn, not dogs….Tea. It is a Shetland-adjacent topic, and I thought appropriate as I hunker down to pare down my photos to post here.
I have a new friend, “A”, from Britain. We met in Shetland. She drinks tea. A lot of tea.
I’m Japanese. I drink tea. A lot of tea. And I don’t care what color…black, green, I like them all.
“A” told me that she uses —- HORRORS — tea bags because, well, she drinks a lot of tea, cannot be bothered to wash out pots, and does not like her tea to be “stewed”.
I brew tea from leaves. Because….Mom does. And it tastes better. (Unless of course, I’m in a pinch.) I’m not sure if I know what stewed tea tastes like….but it could be I drink my tea faster than it can stew.
My family has a favorite tea. It is a tea that we fell in love with, when Mom and I went to London a long long time ago. It’s Fortnum & Mason’s Royal Blend tea. It brews an excellent, strong cup. I can still remember the first time we had this — in the tea room in the back of the store, with smoked salmon sandwiches and scones with clotted cream. Every time anyone in my family goes to London, we make a trip to the flagship store in Picadilly, and stock up. (Because you can only get the tins in the airports, not the bags of leaves.) There is also several orders online a year, and despite the shipping cost, it is cheaper to get it shipped from London than it is to get it through William Sonoma.
When “A” said that she had one of the best cup of tea of her LIFE upon reaching Shetland and it came out of a tea bag, my ears perked up. She did warn, though, that it could be because the Shetland water was so good. Despite the warning, I did drag “A” to the tea aisle at Tesco to pick up a few packets. I was not too worried about water quality in New York City, as I remembered reading that someone from Fortnum & Mason had declared NYC water to be “fine” for tea. (And I found the link, a NY Times article here).
This morning, I received word that this tea was still good with non-Shetland water, so I decided that I would drink the two teas side by side. (Well, one after the other.) Of course, even I know that you need to warm up your cups and pots before brewing tea with BOILING water. (“A”, really, next time you are in the US, ask for your water to be boiled. Peet’s, I know, will do it.) The Royal Blend is, and was, a taste of home for me. It was an excellent pot of tea. Now for the tea bag…Tea Pigs Morning Brew. (Now available in the US through their website and some retail locations, and it’s called “English Breakfast” here.) I cracked open my last packet of Sainsbury’s Garibaldi cookies (why bake when you can buy these!?). And the verdict is….Tea Pigs Morning Brew will be distributed to my family for further testing. It is a DELICIOUS cup of tea. And it comes in a bag! Thank you “A” for your recommendation 🙂