Friday, June 21, 2013
Cup of Tea, Anyone?
Tea is, clearly, the most important food group. Tea makes everything better, at least a dozen times a day at our house. So it has been with some trepidation that I have watched my giant catering pack of teabags dwindling in number. IS there tea without plastic? What if there isn't? There is clearly a point at which I will be accepting some plastic in my life, some point at which I 'can't' live without the product in question, and I would have to say, tea would be that product..
Here is my daily tea..
Looks great, doesn't it? Cardboard carton, tea in plain, compostable bags, grown in Australia... but comes covered in plastic. So I went to the supermarket and there were a whole bunch of plain cardboard cartons with tea in them, but when I squeezed them, they rustled suspiciously. I bought a range of the least rustly. Here they are:
I bought the Twinings bags because you see them all over the place in those cute little paper packets. Not that I felt particularly comfortable about their fair trade credentials, but English Breakfast is a weakness of mine, and I just wanted to see if they were paper packed... but no, foil. Why? Why? The T2 tea (English Breakfast of course) was a Mother's Day present. Loose leaf tea packed in plastic. It looks like you can buy cardboard packages lined with plastic or foil, or plain paper tea bags in cardboard boxes covered in plastic. But the Nerada loose leaf? Cardboard packaging only. And even cheaper than my 200 bag box of tea bags.
So for now, I will be rationing the tea bags, and making comforting pots of tea in the old blue tea pot, with the metal tea strainer. Comforting pots of tea that take five minutes to make... I do love the convenience of tea bags.
Does anyone out there know of any tea bags that are packed without plastic, grown in Australia, or fairly traded? Does anyone make a cup of tea in a pot anymore? My favourite restaurant serves chai tea as if you were having your own mini tea party. The pot has a central strainer full of whole spices, and is filled with steamed, frothy milk, and there is a tiny jug of honey to tip in the tea cup. I love the idea of tea as a ritual, but like the immediacy and lack of prep (and teapot swishing and washing) that you get with a tea bag. Although, now I come to think of it, the tea bag really is a beverage version of fast food isn't it? What I am craving, again, is the convenience of it. I remember reading a Rumer Godden novel as a teenager (something about sparrows in the title?) in which post-war British children were visiting the US, and were using tea bags and imagining with shocked delight what their Nanny would say about this dreadful extravagance, and how she would be appalled at the idea of tea made in any way but in a pot with everyone sitting around the table in a civilised fashion..