On board an Amtrak train, knowing that the only way to get good tea is to boil the kettle we have concealed under the table using their free electricity and then using our travel teapot, I’m pondering two things that occurred at 30th street station in Philadelphia just before we departed, whilst avoiding the gaze of the conductor.
He might smell the malty tang of 1910, but we look so innocent as he passes by.
The first thing to ponder is this: Two Leaves and a Bud.
I’ve heard the name. Do they provide loose leaf? I don’t know.
But they definitely have tetrahedron-shaped bioplastic teabags. In desperation, we bought two teas at Saxby’s, a stand at the station.
It was an Assam.
It was a catastrophe.
One of the worst tasting vile liquids ever to cross my lips.
Whether that particular tea company makes good stuff or not, I doubt I’ll ever find out. Not now.
The lesson to us is clear: don’t sell tea to places that can’t make it. It reflects very poorly on your brand, long after the cafe in question is in the rear view mirror of the tea drinker.
And point to ponder number two was this.
I went to the restroom, as Americans quaintly refer to it.
And there, on the floor, was this.
Strewn across the floor, a stack of unused teabags.
Perhaps they had heard I was visiting and wanted to get rid of the evidence.
Or perhaps it’s just what they deserve: the end result of a process where the tea and the treatment of those who produce it is rarely good enough.