Flynn Taggart Out of place, out of time, and out of my mind.

28Jul/091

God Save the Tea

I'm a total tea snob. This isn't new information. When I drink tea, I want something that tastes robust and smooth. I want my tea brewed from whole tea leaves, so that I may enjoy the full spectrum of flavor. This little caveat means that most mass-produced teas are no good. Lipton, Twinings, and Salada are disqualified immediately, because they are made from tea shavings. It's more of a powder than anything else and the result is a lousy tasting brew. Sure, I'll drink it if it's the only thing available, but given a choice of something else (anything else), I'll shy away from it.

The Brits know what they're doing when it comes to tea, while most of us American heathens don't know the difference between Darjeeling and Ceylon. Why? We've always been a nation of coffee drinkers. Only now is tea finally gaining its well-deserved place in American kitchens. But even so, most people still have no idea what they're doing. Meanwhile, our British friends across the pond have been enjoying great tea for hundreds of years. Or so I thought. Currently, one of their most popular teas is called PG Tips. It's a black tea that comes in a pyramid-style bag and brews a very dark cup in about four minutes. Intrigued to see what all the fuss is about, I picked up a small box of bags and decided to give it a try.

My initial taste test reaction: "What the hell is this!?"

 

 

I swear, this stuff is no different than Lipton. I tore open one of the tea bags to take a look inside and took the picture seen above. See that? Chaff. It looks more like coffee than tea, doesn't it? This obviously accounts for the blisteringly strong cup of tea that was brewed (high surface area = stronger tea) and it also accounts for the overpoweringly stale flavor. Chaff tea is bilge. Rubbish. The apex of awfulness.

I can only hope that the English spend more time in specialty tea shops these days. Otherwise, I'm inclined to think that the current generation of British tea drinkers is getting scammed.

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