I love tea… I wasn’t always a tea drinker though. It was the tea Esprit de Noël from Mariage Frères that converted me…but then the vocation of tea-drinker was more or less inevitable since the tea-party scene from the Alice in Wonderland cartoon was(and still is) the most quoted scene throughout my adolescence. But over a year ago, chéri and I were at his parents overnight for Noël, and at breakfast they served a huge pot of Mariage Frères, tea Esprit de Noël… I was sold and hooked. Since then tea replaced my religious ritual in the morning, and I have found delight in several different kinds. Plus, with tea, you avoid having coffee breath!
When I fist came to Paris, I had noticed that ordering tea in a café brought a bill that seemed a little steep to an American. Tea at American restaurants costs about the same price as coffee does here. I often compare the price of a pot of tea in a café to the actual cost of the entire box of 25 sachets in the grocery store. Well, I suppose when you add up the hot water and the service…then it seems justified, but it took me a few years to get used to it!
Now that I am an avid tea-drinker, an entire world of flavors opened up for exploration.
My regular morning tea is Indar, found at the Grande Epicerie de Paris, Paris 6th. It has a great taste that is smooth and strong without being too strong, and a a small pot of that wakes me up right! I used to drink Twinnings mornings tea, but I find the Indar is much smoother.
But I have also discovered a lovely red tea from the brand Gaïa, called: Un printemps chez les San, served at Sugarplum Cake Shop in the 5th on rue Cardinal Lemoine. This tea is great in the afternoon, with scones or chocolate cupcakes from the Sugarplum fairies that make sugary delights there.
Another tea that I LOOOOVE is a mint tea, like they serve in Arab cultures: steaming hot in a pretty little glass and heavily sweetened, often with a few freshly roasted pine nuts floating on top. Mmmm. Just fresh mint leaves steeped in water with sugar, and if you want some roasted pine nuts on top. Try the tea at the Grande Mosque de Paris, or at La Bague de Kenza. It goes perfectly with their cookies many made with almond marzipan, pistachios and filo dough. A great tea for winter or summer.
I recently discovered Pu-Erh tea, a Chinese tea from the town of Pu’er which is situated on the ancient tea route of China, is a tea that you can (and should) re-use several times, before discarding the tea leaves. They say it burns fat cells, and has a cleansing effect on the body. The fist post you make, has a strange smell to it, but the flavor is not strong. The smell and flavor become more and more delicate with each use. It is aged, like wine sort-of, and the older it is the more expensive its price. I like it’s economical aspects and the fat burning elements. It is a tea that I drink throughout the day at the office.
One tea that I literally went crazy for is ‘Shiraz’ from Hédiard. It is a black tea with mirabel, plum and caramel flavors and marugold flowers…. You MUST try this tea. It’s sensual and fun, and fruity but not sweet (unless you add sugar). Just the smell of this tea makes me happy! Sadly I cannot find it on their website… I wonder if the discontinued it. Gasp! Oh no! I only have half a canister left!!!!
Mariage Frère also offers a red (rooiboos) tea version of the Christmas blend called : Noël Blanc, that I love to have before bed on a cold winter night. It has a flavor that reminds me of Christmas and the holiday cheer, and makes a cold winter night suddenly cozy. Great when you are reading before bed… Be careful, if you let the tea leaves steep too long, you will a get way-too-strong cinnamon flavor. I’m having a pot of this as I write…
I have my habits, but am always open to change (as demonstrated by the change from coffee to tea), and am open to tea suggestions from my readers! Leave your favorite tea in the comments!