Eh? A blog post about tea?
I can almost see you now; rolling your eyes up to heaven, tutting loudly and saying 'Now hang on just a tick. I thought this was a blog about fashion. Or quirky places to go in Laaandan or books or something. Hot beverages? This isn't what I signed up for!' and going off in a grump.
Wait! Before you swipe / click off, there's a good reason for a whole post dedicated to this lovely aromatic drink. A monumental thing has happened... I've finally found a herbal tea that doesn't make me gag. Hurrah! Let's put the kettle on and celebrate.
Those closest to me will know I'm a proper tea monster. Can't get enough of the steaming hot stuff. Mornings simply are not manageable without a cuppa. My hangovers quiver in the presence of the boiling kettle, soon to be obliterated by a great big gulp of tea and its close mate, buttery-Marmite on a generous wedge of seedy granary toast.
I'm a proud Brit and therefore tea naturally pumps through my veins. We all have a cuppa in a crisis, it's WHAT WE DO - just like those cheery folk in Eastenders; many a juicy scandal in Albert Square has been sorted out over a brew. Fact. I'm also a tea drinker for all seasons. Autumn and Winter were made for tea drinking, but Summer's cool too. Remember being little and watching adults drink tea in the hot weather? Utter 'nanas, you thought. Then you grew up. Then you got it.
I'm particular about how I take my tea, mind. (1) It has to be served in a proper big mug (my Crystal Palace FC official merchandise one if you're asking, cheers) or I might have no choice but to send it back. (2) Decaf preferable so I'm not running around the room completely wired. I have too much dispensable energy to play with at the best of times. (3) As a non cows milk drinker (no dietary reason / intolerance but even a whiff of it can render me a heaving mess) my tea has to be taken nearly black. Not completely milk free though, just a dash. I'm not talking builders here; if it resembles a deep chestnut-brown colour and therefore rather vile then that's lovely, thanks very much.
I'm a hoot when it comes to the office tea round, you can guess. My colleague at work once said a rude word and quipped 'Greenbrook, this ain't Starbucks!' when I accepted the offer of tea and then proceeded to place my specific order. He had a point. When it comes to a brew, I'm a fuss pot.
Although the health messages are confusing ('Tea's good, better than water!' 'Tea's bad, whatever you do, don't drink it! etc) I'm all too aware that I should cut down once in a while. So, every now and then I venture into dangerous territory and try one of the herbal teas that have infused the market with their potent offer of fruity loveliness and health and wellbeing super powers. Oh, to be one of those virtuous people who decline a proper brew, requesting instead some hot water to submerge their bag in. Those healthy individuals who delicately (smugly?) sip a green or nettle tea as I greedily gulp down a proper cha and feel sated but a little bit dirty.
Yet, try as I might, I just can't do it. Herbal teas are my kryptonite. Honey and lemon makes me nauseous. I have no idea why but fruit tea makes me think of socks. And tea towels. Yes, tea towels. I smell Blackberry and Vanilla tea and that's enough for me. I can just about do half a cup of Peppermint - its digestive powers have soothed many a sore tummy in the past and restored a feeling of neutrality after gorging and guzzling way too much but only a half. Otherwise I start to gurn a bit and believe me that's not pretty. So, in summary fruity infusions and herbal potions sadly make me want to gag.
That is until I discovered Pukka's Peppermint & Licorice. Safely, warmly ensconced in The Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall last week (more on that soon) and draped on a lounger in the Relaxation Room, guests were invited to try the Pukka tea of the day, and that fine day it happened to be the minty, sweet one.
In an attempt to blend in with the tranquil surroundings, I politely sipped a tiny gulp of the chartreuse liquid, waited for the inevitable gag and then BAM, instead I got pleasantly smacked around the chops with the sweet candy taste of licorice, the perfect extract to cut through the vibrant minty flavour. Yes! Absolutely no retch! It was delicious - soothing, tasty and refreshing; all the things I look for in a herbal tea. It was a revelation and it was all I could do not to leap off my lounger and high-five a guest. (I didn't, you and The Scarlet management will be pleased to know).
So, as of today I'm the kinda gal that brings my own tea bags into work. My ornate, floral Pukka box with flashes of pink and green sits elegantly on my desk (next to my over-spilling stationery tidy and an empty fruit bowl. Must zen desk). I calmly order a hot water when the office tea round comes a knocking, ready to dip my bag as it were and politely (smugly?) declining the strong stuff. Yes, people. I'm now one of them.
Have no fear though. I'm still a sucker for the real deal and not a total disciple of the herbal tea leaf just yet. You can take the girl away from the tea but you can't take the tea out of the girl - I'm a proper brew drinker at heart. Shame on you, my eye is not turned that easily! There is nothing quite like the taste of real tea, in a great big bottomless mug and in this complex and sometimes over-complicated world it's the small things. It's just that now I can drink something else that makes me feel a little bit saintly and it really is delish.
So there you have it. Pukka teas have enlightened my tea-drinking habits and I'm made up. Don't worry, normal service will resume with a fashion related post next but it's pukka and I felt the need to share with you.
Until then, stick the kettle on will you? I'm gasping.