Teacup set from Royal Albert
I'm a coffee drinker. I don't care how/where it's made or whether it's been roasted in a gold plated, diamond encrusted vat. All I want is a shot of caffeine into my veins so that I can face fellow humans without snarling. But ever since Anne decided to gift me with a canister of Mariage Freres tea leaves (Sur le Nil), I've started an affair with a different type of beverage.
I've visited tea shops in China, sniffed old pu-erh tea leaves that cost several hundred dollars (US) per kilo, drank at traditional tea houses, sat through the entire tea ceremony at a restaurant in Guangzhou, collected tea accoutrements from around the world...... BUT I think I was more enamored with its tradition and history rather than the taste.
The French upped the game or in this case, Mariage Frères did by mixing dried flowers, herbs, fruits and spices with a wide variety f tea leaves. I was told by one sales associate that there are 800 different types of tea in their stores. As he wrapped up my purchase (Russian Star £13), he pontificated on the dos and don'ts of brewing tea including the various temperature settings...... I'm afraid my eyes glazed over when I heard the numbers........
Here's a little more about how to choose the right teapots and teacups. I'm afraid I was so taken with my research that I ended up buying yet another teacup set.
pssssst.... Mariage Frères is now available at lower ground floor of Selfridges in London so you can save yourself a Eurostar ticket to Paris.