Sunday 4 October 2009

Don't Be Fooled: This is Tea Hell

Fuertaventura Corralejo beachFirstly, I must apologise for my recent absence. But I have a good excuse. I've been away in what can only be described as tea hell. I was on the Spanish island of Fuertaventura in the Canaries and in my week there I didn't drink a single cup of tea. Before I left for my trip I actually contemplated taking with me some loose leaf tea and a little infuser but stopped myself on the grounds that I couldn't cope with being one of those English people that thinks you can only get a decent cup of tea at home - my trips to Germany have shown that to be far from true. Sadly, in terms of tourist Spain it looks like those tea-carrying people could be right.

True, there were PG Tips & Tetley teabags in the local supermarket but if you're looking for a really decent cup of tea it seems that Fuertaventura is not the place to find it. I am constantly amazed at the way that cafes outside of the UK have a varied supply of tea bags that seem to be English: Lipton; Big Ben; etc. But despite the names they're brands that you never get served in a cafe here. Anyway, deciding that no tea was better than bad tea I stuck to other things - mainly water given the sweltering temperatures.

So when I got home a couple of days ago I was gagging for a cuppa and was somewhat disappointed to discover that Coffee Boy had finished off two of my favourite black teas. Not to be dissuaded from my mission I blended a couple of my more robust teas - an Assam Superb from Fortnum & Mason and a really tasty Ceylon Tea that a friend brought me back from Sri Lanka - and fired up the kettle.

Royal Tea Fortnum and Mason tinsA few long minutes later there it was, a good old cup of tea. It was delicious. And I haven't really stopped drinking tea since I got back. In the three days I've been home I've crammed in a pu erh, a white tea with jasmine, an oolong and numerous cups of black tea with milk. I really don't want to turn into someone that takes Branston Pickle, Marmite and Heinz Baked Beans on holiday but next time I go to the kind of tourist destination that is beloved of people who don't want to eat and drink "foreign muck" I'll be the one with a small tin of tea in my suitcase. And if it's the first step down a slippery slope so be it: a really good cup of tea is a treat too fantastic to go without.
Country cottage cup of tea


  1. I tea-totaly agree! Glad you made it back!

  2. I had noticed a distinct lack of tea-related posts on the internet - now I know why! I'm hoping there were one or two upsides to being in that idyllic looking place as well as the obvious horrors of not getting a decent tea there. Anyway - now that the rain has come to London you're in perfect tea consuming weather ... there are upsides to coming back from holiday I guess. And why did coffee boy go for the tea - surely he ... likes ... coffee?

  3. Got to admit KarmaCycle, despite the lack of tea the rest of the trip was pretty darn good. This dreary weather certainly is contributing to my tea drinking - I reckon I've had more cuppas in the last 4 days than I would have drunk on my entire trip to Fuertaventura! Coffee Boy, despite the name, does like a good cup of tea now and then. Obviously that pleases me - but not when it means he uses up all my favourites!!

  4. I'm like that when I go out even here locally in the states. I want to take my Puerh with me because I'm not going to get any wherever I go, no matter how good their tea is or isn't. I don't know anyone who serves a cup of Puerh in St Paul here and I don't want to drink other tea anymore. Am I snob or just crazed? Perhaps, but I get the tea I want and that's what matters. --Teaternity

  5. Well Jason, discerning is the word I would prefer to use. I'm now going to scour your blog to find a Puerh recommendation!

  6. I have to start taking tea with me as well, I'll go to my girlfriend's house, craving some tea and she'll only have the grocery store, bagged crap. That does me no good!