As you might be aware if you’ve seen any news bulletins from this part of the world lately, a small prince has appeared.
The ‘Royal bub’ (to borrow an expression from Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd) is the first child of the Earl and Countess of Strathearn (aka Wills and Kate), and good old Twinings have come up trumps with just the gift to bestow upon the happy couple: a big black box with tea inside.
Depending on your point of view, the packaging could be considered chic or funereal, but in any case it’s a fine sturdy box, excellent for putting things in after the tea’s all gone. Here are some teacups to give scale to the picture, standing by ready to do their duty for Queen and country:
Inside the box two cylinders nestle in shredded tissue paper:
Look lively, young tins, new mothers across the nation are gasping for a restorative cuppa.
The top half of each cylinder slides off to reveal the tea inside, with the word ‘congratulations’ hidden underneath the join between top and bottom:
There are three different tea types you can choose from – Yunnan, China White and Peppermint – and what I have are the China White and the Peppermint:
I was particularly excited about the white tea with its light downy leaves:
But when I opened the peppermint…
I was consumed by the strong fresh scent, a most marvellously minty concoction:
I’m not sure I want to drink it so much as sew it into a little pillow and inhale it through the night.
Given the night-time nature of the peppermint and the fact that I was toasting the infant in the morning, I plumped for making the white tea first:
It being some hours since breakfast, I paired my tea with a buttered slice of fruit and nut-filled bran loaf diced into baby-size bites:
The tea was a very pale yellow colour and more fragrant in the cup than the dried leaves were in the packet.
On my first sip I detected lemons in the foreground with bachelor’s buttons as a backdrop. (I refer to the wildflower, bachelor’s buttons, also known as feverfew, as opposed to small round devices for doing up a waistcoat, which I suspect would not improve the taste of this tea):
On further tasting, after refreshing the palate with water, I became aware of what I can only describe as a whiff of raspberries on a distant breeze. I saw in my mind’s eye a rather lovely raspberry pie, all hot and juicy straight out of the oven with a shiny top and glistening juices leaking through a little crack in the pastry.
Now, whether all of this is down to the fact that I accidentally made the tea with boiling water, which is a cardinal sin with white tea, or whether if I’d made it properly it would still have had these complex flavours, I have yet to discover. I will need to do more tastings, brewing the tea properly next time, so that I can compare notes.
In any case, I found Twinings China White tea to be a delicately full flavoured brew, and if the peppermint tastes anything like as good as it smells I’m in for a treat this evening.
Congratulations to the new parents, and welcome to the world tiny prince, may your life be long, happy, healthy and filled with excellent beverages.