tea

Time for Tea!

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It has recently come to my attention that I have too much tea. Personally, I didn't think this was possible. But L assures me that I have, in fact, crossed the too much tea threshold. This is why I only brought home 1 tin of tea -- the Fortnum and Mason Royal Blend tin you see here. Of course as luck would have it, I already had an unopened tin of that tea, courtesy of L's mom's last trip to London. Oopsie.

I have a hanging fruit basket in the kitchen, crammed full of tea. And a few tins hiding on the back of the stove. And a couple in the pantry. It's been worse than this, mind you. So I suppose I could concede that I do have enough tea to last me for a good while.

It's a cold and rainy Sunday, that came in on the heels on a cold and rainy Saturday. So my pot of Dean and Deluca Earl Gray Extra is keeping me cheery and warm as I continue through organizing my many clipped recipes into a nice spiral bound book.

I can't imagine limiting myself to just one or two tins of tea. Because day-to-day, what I am craving to sip in a hot mug changes. Some afternoons I want the Mariage Frères Bouddha Bleu green tea. Other days, it's the Mélange Hediard that grabs my attention.

I make a point of bringing home tea whenever I travel. Thus sipping a cup of it once I return home brings back memories of my travels. Overall, it's a minor vice to have as far as vices go.

Note: To the horror of tea enthusiast purists, I prefer to grab bagged tea for drinking at work, to avoid the hassles of dealing with tea strainers (and inevitable tea stains) on my desk. With traditional tea purveyors like Mariage Frères making new strides in creating tea bags that don't leave your tea tasting papery, I think that prejudice should slowly shift over time. At home, I use a basket insert for my tea pot, or individual spoon strainers with a hinge.

Care and Storing of Your Tea

If you are going to hoard tea as I do, there are a few things to know to avoid ending up with tea that's lost its freshness:

  1. Store your loose tea in airtight containers. I try to buy it in tins whenever possible.
  2. If you bought your tea leaves in a plastic bag, transfer it to a glass jar with an airtight lid, or to a clean, previously used tea tin.
  3. If you buy teabags, make an effort to use them within 6 months of purchase.
  4. Tea bags will stay fresh longer if you store them in an air-tight tin (I reused a Fauchon Madeleines tin for my tea bag storage.)
  5. Don't open all your tins at once. I allow myself 3 open tins of tea at a time when I am drinking tea with any frequency.
  6. Try to find a cold dark (but not damp) place to store your tea. I live in San Francisco's Richmond District so that means pretty much any place in my apartment fits this bill for most of the year.

Cheers!


Royal Blend Tea

Whenever friends are headed to the UK, I inevitably pester them about procuring some of Fortnum & Mason's Royal Blend tea for me. I fell in love with this tea over the holidays, in London, in 2001. It was in a sampler I'd bought for my friend and hostess, Leah. After perhaps a day, we'd already gone through its selection in the tea box and set out to the F&M food hall to procure ourselves some more.

This morning, after securing an incoming fix of more of this tea, I stumbled across the Fortnum & Mason US website, through which you can actually order this glorious tea. Happy days.

Cheers.