It’s fair to say that when we are out and about, we do not always love the tea menu.
If one is at a specialised tea house, then there’s likely a fair chance. Even if it’s a specialised, specialised tea house, i.e. it’s not just 50 teas from around the world, but all pu’erh, or all Japanese, you can normally find something, or at least appreciate the range.
However, if you are not at a specialised tea house, but at a restaurant or café or pub or theatre, then the chances are the tea menu will disappoint. If indeed, the menu is not just “Tea… $3.50” anyway, referring to a teab*g slopped in a cup of unfiltered water.
Up until now, I thought there were only two circumstances where I might be happy with the tea menu.
The first one, as in the picture at the top of this post, is when the menu is entirely composed of The Devotea teas. Sure, there’s not many of those, but it would be pretty daft to not like our own teas, would it not?
The second is that rare occasion where the proprietor has an interest in, and promotes good quality loose leaf tea, and has a menu of 7-20 choices.
Generally speaking, though, I don’t have high expectations when I visit most cafés, and so, when we popped into “Café Bavaria” in Victor Harbor (sorry about the misspelling of ‘Harbour’, but it was settled by American whalers/sealers) I was confronted with this:
How good is that? They actually specify if it’s a filthy teab*g, splendid loose leaf tea, or both.
Now, I do suspect some chicanery. Obviously “green tea” is a rubbish description of one of over 200 teas, and I suspect some or all of the ones marked “leaf / bag” mean they are just going to rip a bag open and pour it into a pot, which is actually OK by me at a pinch. I think maybe the rooibos is a little too powdery to do that.
As soon as I saw the “Orange Pekoe” I suspected they were supplied by Amanti, and a quick look at their coffee machine confirmed it. So, knowing that tea well from another venue, I ordered that.
It’s not the best Orange Pekoe, but it’s perfectly acceptable, and sitting outside on a slightly warm day after a cold winter, with a cherry/custard danish, a view across the harbour to Granite Island and Lady Devotea by my side is way beyond acceptable. It was a charming interlude. And quite an unforgettable danish.
I was also excited by the knowledge that I would photograph and share the tea menu. “Lemon Blossom” is a bit of an outlier, too. Full marks for that.
For those of us with a discerning palate, buying tea in public can be stressful. I often carry my own. I mean, it’s not my fault if a sizeable percentage of the population will put up with a chlorine and teab*g experience or sully themselves with a coffee.
I think my visit to Café Bavaria was buoyed by the tea menu. I think it actually felt like a win. Does anyone else know of a place that does this? I think it’s such a winning idea.
I must say we did not have lunch there, which was (unsurprisingly) Bavarian food, otherwise I would have made puns about the food, and they would have been the wurst.