They say tea can cure anything. Feeling a chill? Have some tea. Flunked your exam? Have some tea. Your dog bit the mailman? Have some tea. In my case it was: “Lost your favorite woolen scarf, the one your Aunt Suzie knitted for you and insists on seeing you wear at every family gathering? Have some tea.”
Yep, the scarf was gone. I had it on when I left the house and had even tied it (loosely but securely) around my neck. Usually, my gloves (or most of the time just one glove) were what went missing. They either fell out of a pocket or got left wherever I ended up laying them. It’s actually a pretty common thing to lose a glove or two or three. But scarves are another matter, at least for me. And if you’re wondering why I hadn’t noticed it sooner, I was wearing a turtleneck sweater, so my neck didn’t get cold. In fact, wearing the scarf was a bit superfluous at that time. So it’s no wonder that it slipped away unnoticed.
When I got home and discovered the missing item of apparel, hubby was quick to say, “Have some tea.” Of course, the teapot was empty. So, time to put the kettle on, select a tea, and get steeping. I was feeling better already. And then he asked, “What tea do you want?” Well, this plunged me into a morass of indecision. I mean, this tea was meant to soothe my “missing scarf angst,” not cause me “what tea do I have angst.” Here were the choices:
- Borengajuli Estate — A lovely 2nd flush Assam from the Mangaldai region of North East India with a flavor best described as malty and jammy-like. Vacuum-packed at the estate to preserve its pungent flavor at its peak. A delight that would soothe my troubled brain that was still mentally thinking back on where that scarf would be. (My review)
- PG Tips — The best known and most popular brand of tea in the UK for over 75 years. The flavor is a bit stronger than most Indian and African teas, and similar to the English Breakfast tea below. They come in pyramid-shaped tea bags that allow more room for tea to infuse and produce a better flavor (although yours truly cuts open the bags and dumps the loose tea into the teapot, getting an even better steep). Great with milk a sweetener and sure to take my mind off of missing scarves. (See PG Tips — “Perfectly Great” Tea!)
- English Breakfast Blend No. 1 — The finest Assam, Kenyan and other choice teas all perfectly blended for a flavor that is balanced and malty. A strong tea, it is best served hot with milk and a little sweetener, but a bit of lemon is also good and it makes a wonderful iced tea. The leaves are ground fine to steep faster and stronger. A tough choice between this and the one below (see Tea Showdown — Eng. Breakfast Blend No. 1 vs. Scottish Breakfast), but this tea would certainly cheer up my distressed soul.
- Scottish Breakfast — A tea blend (Assam and Keemun) that steeps up a malty, full-bodied, bright, and slightly oaky ruby-colored liquid. A bracing cuppa tea that gets even better with milk and sweetener and certainly serves as a good distraction from fretting over that scarf.
- Barry’s Gold Blend — Made in Ireland and the company’s flagship brand. A uniquely refreshing taste and a bright golden color. This tea combines the finest quality teas from the high mountain slopes of Kenya and the Assam Valley of India. One sip would transport me to those far off places (in my mind, that is) and do much to bring my stress level back to somewhere near normal.
- Keemun Panda — A black tea from China that steeps up a bright, reddish liquid with a winey, fruity flavor that has depth and complexity even with milk. It is often said that a properly produced Keemun such as this one ranks as one of the world’s finest teas — complex, aromatic, and with a penetrating character similar to burgundy wines. Keemun is one the best-keeping black teas.
- Typhoo — John Sumner Jr. of Birmingham, England created Typhoo Tea to ease stomach ailments and aid with digestion in 1903 (“Typhoo” is an approximation for the Chinese word for “doctor”). The tea is still made the same way today, even though its medicinal focus is lessened, by using the edges of the leaves and avoiding the stems and veins. This might be the right tea to have since I was feeling sick at heart about the scarf. (See Typhoo Tea — The Doctor Is In)
See what I mean about tough choices? I could go “eenie meenie minie moe” or challenge hubby to a game of rock-paper-scissors. In the end I just shut my eyes and pointed to one. It didn’t really matter. They were all taste pleasers and would do the job. A couple of cuppas later and I was my cheerful self again.
Only one question remains: what do I tell Aunt Suzie? Haven’t quite figured it out yet. Maybe if I steep up another pot of tea…
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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