Savour. Nothing charms like a great cup of tea if you are a tea lover. Trying out different types of tea enables one appreciate the variety that is available.
People who have been around me quickly they realise that there are a few things I can’t stay away from, one is a good cup of tea. However, here, I am not talking about that small teabag with a dangling tag!
Let’s talk about real tea, the one with leaves that stretch to their original size when immersed in boiling water- one that gives a glossy velvety red colour when brewed over a steaming kettle for a while, a tea that opens up every taste bud on our tongues once the first sip flows in the mouth, that’s the tea I am talking about!
For these tea leaves, the journey is also long, from growing in shrubs for long months till harvest time, picked by hand and transported from farms to factories, from the hands of the farmer to the business man who sends them off to factories that will in turn deal with this delicacy in the best of ways.
Steamed, baked and roasted, depending on the type of tea to be produced, the leaves take the heat and go from one step to the other without a complaint, only to be tasted one last time with boiling water at the time of consumption.
However, having the final product in your tea cup is one thing, and seeing the tea shrub and following its journey is a totally different thing. The first time I met tea plantations was in Kenya’s Kericho tea estates. The green colour I saw in these plantations was simply amazing, it has to be seen with one’s own eyes to be believed.
Later on, when I moved to live in Uganda, every time we travelled to Jinja town, passing by tea estates after Lugazi was one of my favourite spots.
Still in my mind were childhood memories of the Ceylon tea and a lingering dream of visiting the Ceylon land, it took 40 years and more, the name changed to Sri Lanka but the visit happened. We took a tour in one of the factories on our way to the beautiful town of Kandy, I was quite disappointed! Everything was over commercialised and at the end of the tour, a store was waiting for our wallets to open up. When we asked about the prices, we were quite surprised how expensive the full leaves were, while the left over powdered leaves were cheaper.
The shop attendants were not very bothered that we didn’t purchase much.And why should they bother, when the client in front of us who came from Saudi Arabia, just bought sacs and sacs of their most expensive type.
One more point about my cup of tea, is that I never drink it in a mug, I have to see the colour of my tea, it’s the eyes first then the minutes that follow are simply heavenly!