Thursday, February 21, 2013

"It makes your soul happy"

The definite highlight of my England trip was a long-awaited visit to the Twinings Tea Shop & Museum in London. At those very premises in 1706 Twinings was founded. I kept telling my friends not to expect too much, so they wouldn't be disappointed, because I didn't know either what was waiting for us. But as a devoted tea drinker, I considered it as a pilgrimage to make.

The visit couldn't have started any way better, when outside the store free drinks were promised.

It isn't a big place at all, but it was very neat, classical and elegant- just how I see Twinings.

Looking at all the portrait paintings, I have to say that the Twinings people have lived long lives. It must be because of all the tea drinking. The shop was full of exciting details, like the tea quote above. It would have taken the whole afternoon to go through them all- too bad we couldn't.

And the reason for that was that we spent much more time enjoying our cuppas.

When I asked the sales man for an Earl Grey, I was frowned upon by my friends. I saw it as the classical beverage for a classical place. It didn't take too long for them to realize that it was the right decision to make, as we all agreed that we've never tasted an Earl Grey like that before. The friend who basically condemned me to eternal darkness with my choice, said that that Earl Grey "makes your soul happy". That's how good it was.

 I was trying to figure out what I have done wrong with the brewing- was it the water, temperature... They even use normal tap water at the shop. Well, I guess it's just because I've always used bags when it came to Earl Grey, which from now on I won't.

The 1st flush (the first tea leaves in spring) Darjeeling was amazing as well. The £35 for 100g, indicated the quality of it. By looking at all the tea options on the wall, we managed to learn so much. For instance, I had no idea that tea is grown in Brazil too.

The most interesting lesson, though, came with the mini pur ek cho or something. Apparently, the Chinese wrap the leaves with paper and bury it in the ground in a cave. It's so valuable that some use it as money, and the one we drank was 8 years old, while the oldest could be even a hundred. Because of its moldy taste, we just simply called it the "old British house tea". It didn't taste bad, it was just a bit intoxicating.

In the end we spent more time at the shop than we thought we would. I think it's paradise- a place where you can feel completely relaxed and forget all of your troubles. One of my dreams is to be able to work in the tea industry, let's see how I can work myself into it.

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