Saturday, 23 July 2011

Day 88: Loose Leaf Jasmine Tea

Jasmine. This tea has been haunting my cupboard, waiting oh-so-patiently to be brought out and enjoyed, watching with big sad eyes as the other teas went, one by one, getting their photos taken and generally becoming celebrities.  They returned with great hoopla to the cupboard whilst my poor jasmine tea (which I love) was relegated to a back corner and waited silently until day 88, when I suddenly realised it hadn't come into its own yet.

Truth be told, I wanted to wait and do a blog post on 'tea the dutch way'.  When I was in the Netherlands, I discovered that they have a lovely way of doing tea.  They bring out a teapot filled with hot water, and then glass mugs, and a plate or bowl filled with a variety of teabags.  Their teabags are always made in the kind of packets that describe what kind of tea it is (not just a box of teabags thrown in helter skelter, like we do in Scotland).  So instead of going round and asking what kind of tea everyone wants, they just boil the hot water, bring out the selection, and to each his own.  It's a lovely tradition.  So I was saving up my jasmine tea to use when I finally purchased some little glass mugs, and quite honestly I've never gotten round to it.  So tonight I'm perusing the cupboard and realise that in the name of 'waiting for that special day' I almost missed my loose leaf jasmine tea entirely.  And in the spirit of excelsior I am just going to go for it, my lack of glass tea mugs notwithstanding.

Jasmine tea is probably one of my all time favourites. It's one of the first loose-leaf teas that I began to really enjoy, when a friend gave me some when I was visiting his house.  I drank the entire cup and I think two or three more that night, so he sussed out pretty quickly how much I liked it, and instead of losing his entire tea cupboard to my visits, gave me some of my own for my birthday.  He also kindly gave me a slotted tea-spoon that is perfect for a cup of loose leaf tea, and which I've used almost daily, if not weekly, for the last few years.  Jasmine tea also reminds me of going out to eat with my dad at chinese restaurants - the tea that they give you in those tiny little cups, where you fill and refill it a hundred times in a night and still the teapot is not empty - as it has just enough flavour to enjoy, but not so much that you feel 'full'.  There are some teas that really make you feel like you've eaten something.  Assam tea, which I had earlier this week, is a pretty heavy duty tea; even Candy Cane tea is like eating sticks of peppermint; and Thai Bobo Iced Tea is like a medley of fruits and sugar, and it's difficult to find the tea, almost.  

But Jasmine tea is light. Fragrant. Peaceful. Restful. Calm. Unassuming.  It brings to mind light, fragile flowers, and Japanese gardens, and glass teapots. It's the kind of tea that can wait in the cupboard for 88 days, and not be bitter or resentful when it's finally brought out.  I'm enjoying this tea just as much as I ever did, and it's a happy reunion.

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