Each of us has a set of personal rules and standards that govern what we do with regards to the teas we will drink: the when and why.
For example; I do not drink tea made from teab*gs. A quick summation of why:
- On average, tea in teab*gs is of vastly inferior quality
- Operations growing this inferior tea tend to have far more exploitative work practices
- Paper teab*gs adversely affect the taste of tea
- Teab*gs sold as “silky” or “silken” are a con
Another common dislike amongst the tea drinking fraternity is a hatred of ready-to-drink iced teas, often called RTDs. These tend to have little actual tea in them, but a whole lot of sugar and various chemicals you would not necessarily choose to add to your cuppa.
When out and about, my preference is for a cup of fresh brewed loose leaf tea. Or possibly freshly brewed iced tea.
If I find a place that has neither, the usual response is to go elsewhere. If I find a place that has loose leaf tea, I will tend to order a cuppa even of I actually want a cold drink, because loose leaf needs to be encouraged everywhere.
But sometimes it gets tricky.
Yesterday we visited a little hipster deli/lunch bar we have visited before. The place has about 20 large jars, each with a capacity of about a kilo of tea. They are clearly sourced from multiple vendors.
I was a little uncomfortable. In the year or more that has elapsed, I don’t think the tea jars had appreciably declined in contents. In such a coffee-centred culture that’s not a huge surprise.
As it was warm and we had been strolling for hours, I had a look at the cold drinks fridge. There was a new kind of RTD, one of the more “authentic” iced tea products made with brewed tea. Rather than risk the stale jars, I could try this.
But no! A check of ingredients shows lemon juice in all flavours. I was foiled by my allergy.
So I reverted to plan ‘A’ and ordered a silver needle. It was very poor. Not enough tea was used, and the tea was indeed quite stale.
I could have had a teab*g at any of a dozen other venues on that street. Or a Coke. Or a hot chocolate.
But no, I let principle guide me, and I did not enjoy it.
It might sound like I lost out.
But on the other hand, three hours earlier we lunched at a bakery that offered 10 loose leaf teas. I chose “Scottish Caramel Tea” at random, because it was such an unlikely combination of words. Turned out to be a pu-er infused with vanilla and caramel.
And it was delicious.
You win some, you lose some, and whilst I’d prefer to win, you have to be prepared to lose sometimes.