Tuesday, 11 August 2009
A Tea Tin Paradise
For a nation of tea lovers us Brits really could learn a thing or twelve from our German cousins. I am currently in Berlin (which accounts for my recent lack of posts) and am constantly amazed by the superior facilities for the tea obsessive. As I've mentioned before I am a big fan of the tea accessory and none is higher on my list of must-haves than the attractive tea tin. I have searched high and low for nice tins in the UK and although I've managed to find some good ones online it certainly hasn't been too easy. You would expect that department stores like John Lewis or the considerably more gift-oriented Fortnum and Mason might have them, but no, they are completely bereft. Here in Germany it's a different matter altogether.
As you can see from the photo I have quite a number of really attractive tins in my cupboard here in Berlin. But the most surprising thing about my collection is that I've picked them up in all sorts of places: a specialist tea shop in Hamburg train station (I know!); a local market with a pretty impressive tea stall; a little wine and tea shop round the corner from my place; and, most recently, from the local department store. I was actually looking there for something else entirely the other day when I stumbled across an entire stand full of tea tins in all shapes, sizes and colours. I picked out the rather attractive plum one above, and the nicely textured white one with spots. But I found myself with mixed feelings: why is it so easy to buy nice tea accessories in Germany and next to impossible in the UK? What's wrong with us? Does our love of tea extend no further than a cardboard box filled with pyramid shaped tea bags?
Well this is my advice: tea lovers everywhere, seek out lovely tea tins and I think you'll find that your desire for and appreciation of the tea inside will be just that bit greater. And if it's not, at least your kitchen cupboards will look good!