Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tea Travels

Green Tea Reminds me of a Korean Colleague
Strange how tea can take us to places, times, and memories. A few minutes ago I tweeted to a fellow traveller who was mentioning being calm without coffee that he might want to try Rooibos Tea, as I find it calming. The truth is, I find it calming because I associate the tea with a special bond shared with my older daughter. You see she introduced me to Rooibos tea while we were sharing a flat in Fish Hoek near Cape Town South Africa. She had discovered the tea (it's from a local redbush indigenous to the western Cape) while in the bush of Botswana. Sure I'd tried a variety mixed with other teas from Teavana back at the mall in Orange County, but it just wasn't the same as a simple cup of Rooibos which was said to be poor man's tea (vs the tea from Dutch colonizers and British tourists.) So as I got up to write this post, I miss my daughter, think of our guest house visit, the hosts from Colorado & Namibia, and guests from Ghana.

Then my thoughts wander to my most recent trip. To a place I equate with tea: London. Harrods. English Breakfast Tea. Earl Grey. High Tea. Classic tea party.  Funny thing is, tea has become such a luxury item business in the US that I was a bit disappointed in the teas in London. My hotel, the London Metropole, served "everyday" tea from Tetley in a bag. Kind of like a non vintage wine.  That said, we have a Starbucks inspired tea here at home that will always make me think of London, and my younger daughter who loves the London and it's namesake concoction: London Fog. We make it with a cup of Earl Grey, Soy milk foamed with an aerolatte tool, and a splash of vanilla syrup. Perfect for cool coastal California mornings when we are covered in marine layer. Honestly, London makes a better latte, and beer. Enjoying a london fog is equivalent to driving my daughter to school along a foggy coastal road.

As I open the tea cabinet I spy yet another memory infused tea: Sweet Orange by Tazo. Oddly enough I tried this at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines where my husband and I were given free tickets and a day free of cell phones to watch Mickelson and Woods battle it out. I remember the fresh fruity smell of that tea late in the afternoon, and how I scoured the lawyer sponsored room for more of those tea bags to take home. Now whenever I drink this tea I think of the beautiful Torrey Pines, the tricky 15th hole, and how Tiger came from behind, but Mickelson had such class. Sweet Orange takes me to a place of privilege and a once in a life time "pinch me" moment that was just too good to be true, but it was!

Where does your tea take you?


santafetraveler said...

I love tea. I remember the first time I had brewed tea was at Serendipity 3 in NYC. Having been raised on Lipton and Tetley (whatever was on sale at the time), brewed tea astounded me and a long-lasting love affair was born. Now I'm lazy and I mostly drink organic tea in bags.

Vacation Mamma said...

I'm a lazy tea drinker too, but I'll give you a tip, santafetraveler: I buy easy fill tea bags and fill them with a spoonful of loose tea. All the deliciousness, but none of the mess of brewing, and perfect for a single cup or people with varying tastes.