Revolt of the Tea Geeks
I was very excited to be asked to mentor a tea merchant. I consider myself an avid tea enthusiast. Or so I thought until I met Ann Davis of The Tea Experience. She greeted me at her office on our first day asking, of course, ‘what type of tea would you like to drink?’ Having met a biomedical researcher from Sheffield Hallam University who reliably informed me that if I wanted to avoid Alzheimer’s disease – his area of specialty – I should drink green tea every day, I told Ann that I wished that I like green tea but I couldn’t stand the taste and it made me feel a bit sick. She asked me to picture a supermarket aisle and imagine that in that aisle were different kinds of green tea. There were hundreds of green teas and perhaps I had’t found the right one. I began to wonder who was mentoring whom.
When Ann learned that Earl Grey is my favourite tea, she made me a pot of Wild Grey Chinese Green Sencha Tea, laced with bergamot. Then she explained how to make it. There’s a ritual to making green tea that is at odds with my lifestyle. After the kettle boils, you need to wait to avoid burning the leaves. I’m rather impetuous so this was a challenge for me. However, I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. I could smell and taste the bergamot. The leaves were huge in comparison to the dust that’s in a normal tea bag. Most of all, I was drinking something with great benefits to my health.
Ann is a font of knowledge about tea and she is passionate about it. She aims to make every client a Tea Geek, spelling the end to the awful tea bag or at least those that don’t quite reach the standard of a Tea Pig (lovely, silken bags with properly sized leaves that you can see). She dismissed the notion of leaf tea being any more difficult than grinding your own coffee beans and making a proper cup of coffee. And it isn’t. You can even reuse the leaves which you certainly cannot do with a pot of coffee.
I never feel quite the same chucking a tea bag into a cup now. I still do it because I’m not only impetuous, I can be quite lazy. But at least I’m aware. The Tea Geek Revolution has begun!