I’m ashamed to say my last blog entry was nearly two years ago… EEK. I wish I could tell you that I’ve been off travelling the world discovering all the tea – but that’s not strictly true. Unfortunately, I let life just kinda… get on top of me and I had a big ol’ burnout. Not fun at all – and if you’ve been there before or are currently there, I really do feel for you.
So, as a result it’s been a bit of a slow return to rediscovering the things I’m passionate about. So here I am, nearly 2 years later dusting the ol’ teacups off and ready to sit back, have a brew and get back to it.
The one constant in all this? No surprise… TEA! Of course. Where would I be without it? I often wonder. As I think I’ve said before – when I look at all the ups, the downs, and the lefts and rights in my life, tea genuinely has been one of the constants that I turn to for comfort.
Discovering Sri Lanka
Something I did do this year is realise a dream! I spent two weeks in Sri Lanka back in April and was fortunate enough to be able to visit several tea factories, and take part in the actual picking process, before watching my leaves being turned into real tea. One of the most surreal experiences of my life but the beauty of seeing where the stuff I drink so much of actually comes from, and the processes that are involved, really was an eye opener. Oh and the smells – how to describe the smell of a tea factory? Imagine you’re walking into a cloud of hot slightly mouldy tea smoke or something… it is both amazing, overpowering and a little bit off-putting! I’ll work on how to exactly describe it.
Me at the Heritance Tea Factory
So it’s time to create my new years resolutions (again)…
Write up the 3 blog posts from Sri Lanka I’d been working on! (January 2019!)
Continue to learn everything there is to know about black tea!
Before I set sail in this journey of exploration, I thought it best to take stock of what I actually have in the tea department – as you can see from the picture below, there’s not a lot to go on. These teas are all gifts, minus the Clipper (bought for my boyfriend, I’ve never tried it). My current favorite (and only one I’ve been using) comes from the beautiful Alice In Wonderland Tin (by New English Tea, courtesy of my friend Teesh). It is English breakfast at its bagged finest! Really it is.
Now this isn’t about becoming a hoarder of teas I don’t drink – which is what I currently am on small scale. At the end of this year I don’t want to be armed with a cupboard of 100s of teas, more a small trusted selection of teas that have purpose and that I enjoy.
In fact, that’s what I aim to be the end product of this – a capsule tea collection!
Have you heard of the phrase capsule wardrobe? If not, the very awesome blog un-fancy, explains it all – essentially a guide to crafting the perfect collection of seasonal clothing without a) breaking the bank and b) hoarding! I was inspired by this blog to write a piece for XoJane, which looked at the premise of building out a capsule wardrobe, through memories & associations. Clothes are sorted into three piles of memories: Memories to love, memories to make and memories to shake.
So this theory I’m now trying to apply to tea, in some form! But, before I get into that, I need to go back, way back, to understand where tea actually comes from, and what it actually is.
When I say ‘I’m a bonafide tea-addict’ I should be more specific for the purpose of this blog post:
I’m a bonafide English Breakfast Tea-addict’
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fairly rigid in my approach to tea. I tend to go for Traditional English Breakfast tea, via a bag (Twinnings tends to be my choice) and if I’m feeling adventurous, loose leaf from Whittard. I do love Peppermint tea, and occasionally try Green Tea, however if you broke down the quota, it’d be 99% Trad eng.
I’m sure any tea connoisseur would be rolling their eyes at me right now… but I’m holding my hands up. It is time for a change, a BIG change.
So with that in mind, here’s what I want to achieve in Twenty SevenTEAn (see what I did there?!)
Learn about the history & origins of Tea
Discover the perfect methods of brewing
Understand the different types of tea
Make my own tea
Expand my horizons and taste experiences
Appreciate, and fall back in love with the rituals of making tea
That just about covers it – and will form the core subject matter of this blog.
I’m really excited to embark on this journey, and I hope you are too!