Sunday, 3 December 2017
Tea in the City
"But when we consider how small after all the cup of human enjoyment is, how soon overflowed with tears, how easily drained to the dregs in our quenchless thirst for infinity, we shall not blame ourselves for making so much of the tea-cup"
Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea
It's true that for Brits tea is often the solution to many a problem, or the remedy which helps us calm down or feel revived. I think many women would nod their heads in agreement that the cup of tea after giving birth was one of the most wonderful things in life. That cup of milky tea with sugar and a slice of toast were like manna from heaven and a true reward.
How many times after hearing some sad or worrying news you go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea?!
There are so many fond and wistful memories around tea for me, of my long gone friends, family kitchen, emergency cups in stressful situations. Tea might not cure all ills, but it certainly is a constant positive in my life.
I am always delighted, whenever I'm asked to review a new brand of tea.
Tea in the City is a single origin loose leaf company with teas from several corners of the world.
They focus on pure unblended teas, and also stock a number of different tea types.
I have sampled two of the Tea in the City's range - Lapsang and Georgian Black.
Georgian Black has nothing to do with the British monarchs. It comes from Ozurgeti, Georgia.
Georgian tea was very popular in the Soviet times.
It makes a beautiful aromatic cup, strong but mellow, not bitter or harsh, like some black teas taste. It has a mild berry note, and is very-very drinkable on its own. I have tried it with lemon, and also with milk, but prefer it unadorned.
It is grown inland from the Black Sea, outside the city of Batumi. The story goes that tea cultivation started in Georgia in the 19C, thanks to the crown prince Miha Eristavi, who loved tea so much that he had it smuggled from China in the form of seeds. The local climate was similar to sub-tropical tea growing regions of China, and the rest is history.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, the local tea-growing industry was thrown into chaos.
But as it often happens, it takes one passionate person to inspire the others, and the tea growing was revived. Davit Teneishvili had been growing tea on his farm for over 20 years, but the plants themselves are up to 80 years old.
When you drink this beautiful tea, think of its wonderful history, and raise a cup to the dedicated Georgians.
Wild Lapsang Souchong is one of the most famous Chinese teas. This variety comes from Wuyi Mountains, Fujian Province.
I am a big fan of Lapsang Souchong, but usually I drink a smoked variety. Lapsang from Tea in the City is unsmoked. It is a malty black tea with earthy, mineral undertones and pine aroma.
This is the first time I have tried an unsmoked Lapsang.
"Despite being unsmoked, it packs a punch in terms of flavour, and the absence of smokiness really lets the taste of the tea leaves come through."
The tea makes an intense amber-coloured brew.
If there is a tea lover in your life, and you're looking for Christmas gifts for them, check out Tea in the City.
Disclosure: I received two teas for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are my own.