I had something of an epiphany in a restaurant the other day. We were served by an example of the kind of sommelier so over the top that they’re completely immune to parody. His explanation of one particular glass of wine easily doubled my knowledge of the entire subject.
Wine isn’t really my thing but it’s always interesting to learn more and to enjoy someone’s enthusiasm for their subject. I became less understanding though when we got to the end of the meal and it was coffee or tea time. Upon opting for tea I was given the choice of Breakfast, Earl Grey or Green.
I listened politely to facts about the rain fall in Bordeaux and those are my options?
Why on earth would I have the aptly named Breakfast tea after lunch? Earl Grey is perhaps more appropriate time-wise but it’s not a tea to round off a heavy meal, it should have it’s own accompaniments. Then my other option… Green. I asked what type, they didn’t know so someone went to have a look at the box. Apparently it just said Green on it.
This was the point when I realised that tea is no longer just a drink for me, it’s become an interest and is rapidly becoming a passion. If I had offered that sommelier wine and the entirety of the information I provided was that it was red he would have been horrified, and rightly so.
For every detail of soil, altitude, climate and age that can influence the body and bouquet of a great wine there is a corresponding cause and effect in a good cup of tea. It can be collected like wine, has differing serving and temperature requirements just like wines and you can pay just as much for a truly rare tea as you can for a rare wine with the added bonus that it goes much further and never gives you a hangover.
So that’s that, I guess I am forever going to be an annoyance to restaurant staff who rate the importance of their beverages wrongly and a terror to those poor innocent souls who would dare to describe a tea as merely Green.
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