Are you at a tea junction? Go right.
Do you remember Blue Nun? In the 1970s, it was the must-drink white wine, which my grandmother craved with Sunday lunch. By the 1980s, we’d turned our backs on that “dreadful sweet stuff,” and were jumping on the Piat D’Or bandwagon. So smooth … so sophisticated… We thought we were so classy.
Then came the 1990s, with wine clubs springing up all over the place. Piat D’Or was ridiculed. By the start of the Noughties, life was officially Too Short for Bad Wine. I agree.
With a plethora of chain and independent coffee houses on our high streets, it is now easy to find good coffee. I wish it was as easy to find good tea when out and about. But it isn’t. Most cafés and restaurants are still in the dark ages when it comes to serving tea. If you ask for loose leaf, you feel as though you are asking for the moon, when all you really want is tea worth drinking.
In terms of gallons drunk, most of us imbibe far more tea than wine. But even at home where we have a choice, most of us content ourselves with rubbish. As far as tea is concerned, many of us are still lost in the equivalent of the Blue Nun era, happy to dunk a tea-bag, and drink dust-infused water, with not a leaf in sight.
Some of us now demand a bit more and have graduated onto posh tea bags, with visible leaves. In wine evolution terms, this is the equivalent of the Piat d’Or era. Definitely better, but still lamentably short of a really good cup of tea.
If you want good tea, buy quality loose leaf. Like good wine, it will cost a bit more, but it is worth it. I drink Trumpers Tea. It is not only award winningly fab, it is sourced personally and ethically, blended by hand by a woman who cares about tea, and packed lovingly by a social enterprise which gives employment to men and women with learning disabilities.
For me, it was a taste revelation, and unlike many teas, Trumpers Tea seems to put back more into the world than it takes out.
So, if you are at a Tea Junction, turn right. Life really is too short for Bad Tea.