Queued post, written July 26th 2014
Another hot cup of heatwave tea. This one serves two purposes. Purpose one being that it came out of the yet to try box. Purpose two relates to the ingredients. Peppermint and licorice root in what looks like more or less equal proportions. I woke up with a slightly achy throat, so I thought the licorice root would be good. I tend to find licorice root soothing under these circumstances, especially when mixed with chamomile. It’s not what I would call delicious in any way, but it’s a pretty good sick-tea. That said, I do hope I’m not getting sick. No other symptoms, so I’m thinking it just due to the heat and not sleeping well at night because of said heat. Perhaps a little dehydration as well, although I felt like I drank my own weight in water yesterday.
Anyway, this blend came along with the Christmas calendar I had from Fru P in December. It wasn’t one of the days, it was just a little bonus-sample that she added in. This is the blend that makes me convinced that she’s using the same supplier as the shop Hans & Grethe does, because they’ve been selling this for years. From what I’ve heard it’s one of their most popular blends. I have a colleague who hasn’t drunk anything else for years.
I don’t much like Hans & Grethe as a shop for two reasons. One reason is the coffee mills they have in the shop and they are always going. These big old-fashioned types with big turning wheels and whatnot. There are four or five of them in the shop itself. Right next to where they sell their tea. I don’t know if there is always coffee in them, or if they add a portion of beans when someone buys coffee. I can’t actually taste a difference whether the tea has been around a coffee grinder or not, and the mills might be purely decorative for all I know, but it just leaves me with a bad impression of the shop.
The second reason is probably more serious. I don’t trust that they know what they’re dealing with. I once went to a sort of tea-tasting event with a colleague of mine held by one of the Hans & Grethe people and while it was very good from a beginner’s view point, there were a number of things that disagreed with rather a lot. The way, for example, she told about keemun teas and phrased it in a way that would have you believe that all the keemun tea in all the world was ALL of it single estate. As in all of it the same estate. Which… well, that’s just not possible. That one was the last straw for me and I sort of stopped listening too much. (In general, the event could have been organised better, really)
A few weeks later I went into one of their shops wanting to buy some oolong, and I recognised it was the same woman minding the shop that day. I asked what they had in the way of oolong, and she showed me a Taiwanese oolong. It was one of those that were somewhere in the middle between a green type and a dark type oolong, and I tend not to find them super interesting. I was looking for a dark type, so I asked if she had that. She then informed me that that would then be a black tea I was looking for as oolong (by definition) was 50% oxidised. The ‘not 25%, certainly not 80%’ was strongly implied. I bit my tongue and let it pass, although I’m not certain I managed to hide the sceptical-cat-is-sceptical look. Then she showed me another one, as sort of an afterthought. This time a Formosa oolong, which she tried to have me believe was entirely different. Well, I’ve learned both history and geography so I happen to know that Formosa is an old-fashioned European name for Taiwan, and they also looked and smelled completely identical…
The really scary thing was that as I left I got the distinct feeling that she believed it was me who didn’t know what I was talking about.
I haven’t shopped there since. Don’t particularly fancy starting really. This is why I’m highly pleased that Fru P uses the same supplier, because it means I can safely disregard H&G completely and not fear missing out on anything. Fru P also has a coffee grinder, but it’s a smaller modern model of the sort that does one bag of beans at a time. I find that much much easier to deal with.
Now, the blend itself. If it is popular from H&G, I can’t see why it shouldn’t also be popular from Fru P. I can understand why it’s popular. The peppermint and licorice are both sweet things, so it’s a very sweet thing to be drinking. I get a minty fresh aftertaste and the licorice is lovely on my throat. If you don’t like licorice root or peppermint, obviously you won’t like this. I wouldn’t say I enjoy it immensely, but as suspected it’s very good for a sore throat and not actually unpleasant.