Sunday, 30 October 2011

this stuff'll kill you

an apothecary in Munich

I've been reading a lot recently about the health benefits of tea.  It's rather remarkable what drinking this stuff will do for you.  Most of the time I reject these promises outright.  The proof, if there is in fact any proof, is often flimsy.  Or misleading.

So I went searching for the most ridiculous promises of tea's magical properties, and a funny thing happened.  Many of the sources I found wrote their claims in such a way that they can't be disputed.

'Drinking tea might delay Alzheimer's' or 'Green and black tea can slow down the spread of prostate cancer' or 'Tea may lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease'.  You get the idea...this stuff just might happen...maybe...actually, the place I read those provided sources for many of the claims and they look reputable enough.  You want to see it?

It's at a site called 2BASnob.  Aside from recommending that you should drink loose-leaf tea whenever possible, but if you're on the go and have to drink instant or bottled tea, you should just drink more...yeah, aside from that, it seems like there's a lot of good information.

I can hear you saying, 'That's not funny.  What was the funny thing that happened?'  Well, I was getting to that.  So then I found a site based upon the Wikipedia page about health benefits of tea.  It's a page with some content (the first column) and then a selection of google ads and related stories (the second column), which appear to send you to similarly written articles.  Then there's another section for ads and video news and some more ads and then a listing of breaking news (the third column)...What the hell is your point Lahikmajoe?

(revision...I don't want to drive any, or any more, traffic to that site, so I've resolved to link to Alex Cazort's article Health Benefits of Tea, which actually has reliable information not written in such an annoying and meaningless style)

I'm sure this site is driving lots of traffic to and fro, but is all of this really necessary?  It's so busy...I'm almost unable to focus on the reason I came here.  Health benefits of tea, right? (Again, I've taken the link out to that site.  If you really want to see it, I'm sure a quick search will bring you either to it or somewhere as useless).

Once I pay attention, my eyes zero in on this sentence:

One should consult a doctor before using high concentrations of tea for disease prevention.

Really?  I drink a lot of tea, but not necessarily for disease prevention.  I'm still ok, yes?  My doctor's going to think I'm nuts if I bring this to her.

'Doc, I have to be honest,' I hear myself saying, 'I drink a lot of tea.'

'Yes, and...,' she answers. 'What seems to be the problem?'

So then I tell my doctor what I read next on the Science Daily website:

'Ingestion of large amounts of tea may cause nutritional and other problems because of the strong binding activities of tea polyphenols and the caffeine content, although no solid data exist concerning harmful effects of tea consumption.'

Did you hear that doctor?  I'm doomed.  It's all over.

'I have good news and bad news,' she tells me.  'Which do you want first?'

Oh my, it's worse than I thought.  Ok, I can take it.  Give me the bad news first.

'The bad news is that you are, in fact, going to die,' she acknowledges.

I knew it!  All that bloody tea.  What was I thinking?  Ok, what could possibly be the good news?

'Well, the good news is that it's very unlikely going to be from tea consumption.  It's possible, but highly unlikely.  And probably a long long time from now.'

Oh.  Really?  Well that is good news, isn't it?  I'm going to celebrate this by brewing a pot of tea.  Would you like a cup, doc?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Tea Effect over at Indonique

spring flowers for after the hurricane
Wanted to dip into Katrina Ávila Munichiello's new book The Tea Reader last week in the build up to her book party.  But I got distracted by the beautiful weather at the weekend and then Lisa Galaviz and her trip to the monkey-picking tea shop.  If you read Lisa's account that I spoke of here recently, you can see how hard it was for me to stay focused on what I'd wanted to cover.

Nevertheless, I'd mulled over what new treasure I wanted to share from the many I found in Katrina's book and finally decided on The Tea Effect by George Constance.  I should be up front about the fact that this wasn't the first contact I'd had with George and his love of tea.  

Years ago, when I first decided to get more serious not just about drinking tea but writing about it as well, George was one of the first tea people I reached out to.  I knew him only as @Indonique over on twitter, and he was quite generous with advice about what books might help me on my quest of understanding tea better.  

Here I am flipping through the pages of The Tea Reader, and I find an essay that George has written about the shop and Hurricane Katrina and everything before and after those things intersected.  Most importantly, he recounts how they came up with a term for the positive impact tea had had on their community.  

The backstory of the shop was that he'd originally had the idea of selling wholesale tea to cafes in New Orleans.  No-one was interested, so he and his wife/partner Daya opened up their own tea shop/cafe in Magazine Street.  

Slowly, other cafes in the area wanted to be a part of the tea scene.  Over to the leaf-side, as it were. And they wanted tea only from Indonique.  Reading this account, I feel the pull and I'd like to try some of that very tea.

This attraction and desire to be a part of something positive in the community is what they call the Tea Effect.  Now I have to rely on George's words to tie this up:

'Post-Katrina, we considered ourselves fortunate--fortunate that we live in a wealthy nation that offered a place to which we could evacuate, and the help of friends and family to rebuild our lives.  So many around the world don't have these resources.  Tea-producing regions in particular are vulnerable.  The tea industry does little to alleviate this.  Indonique was rebuilt with this in mind.  We pledged to return 10% of every sale we make to the communities that pick our tea through Non-Governmental Organizations like Mercy Corps that can most effectively make change and provide oversight.  Our accounting records are open and our website is dedicating percentages to organizations that fight the trafficking of children.  We believe that if all industries did the same, we could alleviate poverty, disenfranchisement, extremism and the need for large military expenditures.  We're rebuilding Indonique as a cause.  The trick for us is to recreate that Tea Effect, so easily obtained in our shop, and duplicate it in cafes and retailers around the nation, to make the cause as infectious as the Tea Effect.  We're in discussions now with brokers and venture capitalists to do just this.  Perhaps the storm that caused so much misery will lead to something that will alleviate misery everywhere.

Fingers crossed.'

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Another thing I found about Indonique tells the whole story in much more detail.  You can find it here:

If I haven't already said it, you really should get your own copy of The Tea Reader.  Really.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

you don't really want to know how this tastes, do you?

autumnal background to go with my Karakorum Cha

Have been stewing about something for the last few days and rather than try to be clear and measured, I'm going to scrawl a bit.  

A few nights ago, I stayed up relatively late so I could do another Google+ Hangout with several tea people.  And something Michael J Coffey said got me thinking.  We were talking about the physical properties of tea.  Specifically about the way the chemicals in tea react in different people's bodies.  

And the next thing he said was something I'd considered but not heard anyone ever mention.  Similar to this variety of chemical reactions to tea, there's also the fact that what you taste might really be unique to you.  The example he used was that you read a tea review and it says that there's a taste of something (let's say peach) but no matter how much you try, you just can't taste any peach.

I can't tell you how many times I've read about a tea, whether it was a similar tea or the exact one I'm drinking, and the description was so wildly different from what I was tasting.

This isn't a complaint about the phenomenon.  I actually like the fact that two people drinking the same tea can have wildly different opinions of what they're tasting.  

I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm questioning the whole prospect of tea reviews in general.  I do understand that there are strong flavours that some tea has that everyone drinking that tea might agree on.  I also get it that if I'm excited about, or even disgusted by, a particular tea I've drunk, I want to write/talk about it as descriptively as possible. 

The idea of tea reviews in general makes sense to me.  But the actual practice is sometimes another matter.  I read a blog recently that questioned if people reading these reviews actually read other tea blogger's reviews.  I wish I could link to it but try as I might, I just can't find where I read it.  

So many teablogs.  Information overload.  

I can already hear some of you: I not only write tea reviews, I read them, as well.  Really?  Does it affect your future purchases?  Do you care about the way it's written, or do you just want the information?

And as long as I'm putting words in your mouth, here's what you say next:

Why is this irritating you so much?  You're getting hot and bothered about something that really isn't such a big deal.

Well, a few posts ago I mentioned that I'd be reviewing Karakorum Cha.  The truth is that I've been drinking it on and off for months.  It's a tea that can easily get quite bitter.  So I've been toying with it and finding the best way to get the most flavour without too much puckering.

Actually, that'd probably be an interesting thing to document.  How difficult it was at the outset to make this tea not too bitter.  But describing what it tastes like?  Do you really want to know?

I'm really wondering how useful that information is.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Don't tell her it's not tea

There were so many things I wanted to do on the old teablog this weekend, but great weather got in the way. As did the Rugby World Cup, and Manchester City beating Manchester United, and did I mention the weather was really very nice?  I was outside as much as possible.  Not much time for teablogging.

But luckily, I have done my little part for the teablogging community in the past, and some of it has started coming back to me.  I've said it so many times, but it needs much as I like tea drinkers reading what I have to say, it's nearly as much of a joy to find out that the occasional non-teadrinker comes to visit.

I've made no secret of the fact that I enjoy luring people over to the leaf-side.  So when I find out someone's actually taken any of my advice seriously...well, it makes me simultaneously proud and a bit nervous for the individual.

Several times over the last few months, Lisa Galaviz has threatened to actually attempt to put some of her newfound tea knowledge to the test.  If you know anything about Lisa, you know that if she goes through with something, she's going to blog about it.  Without further ado, here's the account of Lisa going to Teavana:

How NOT to go to a Tea Shop

Teablogging doesn't get much better than this, eh?

Let me just say something about Teavana, because I hear/read some unflattering things.  As a matter of fact, Lisa's blogpost wouldn't be so telling if it weren't similar to quite a few other experiences I've heard about shopping there.  It's the most common complaint I'm aware of.

But to be fair, a lot of people only get into tea because they stumble into a Teavana shop.  There are things this company is doing right, and I've been impressed with some of their practices.  I'm sure there's an entire other blogpost I could devote to what I like about Teavana.  Maybe another time.

Having said all that, you can really imagine those hippies hollering about antioxidants, can't you?  I certainly can.  Stay tuned for more on Lisa's experiments with tea.  Her endeavours with that Samurai Chai Mate are magic waiting to happen.

Let's not mention that Yerba Mate isn't really tea, ok?  I can just see her flying down to the Galleria demanding her money back, setting the Oolong-plucking monkeys free and riding away into the night.

For the sake of all that is proper, just don't tell her it's not tea.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Karakorum Cha Cha Cha

I went a bit overboard with my praise for Greg Mortenson and his incredibly popular book Three Cups of Tea last year.  It appears the incredibility of the book's popularity was more incredible than at first suspected.  There was a huge scandal about Mr Mortensen and his questionable handling of his charity in general and his books inflated sales in particular.

Before all of that, I was rather taken with the ideas he espoused in the book (still am actually) and paraphrased his main ideas here: Tea Alchemy.

Once people find out you're into tea, they start bringing you tea samples.  That's exactly what happened when a friend went to see Greg Mortensen in person.  The Karakorum Cha pictured above was on sale after his presentation, and it was purchased and brought to me.

Although I'm always grateful to receive tea that I don't know yet, I wasn't particularly impressed with this tea.  It took a long while before I figured out the way to brew it that brought out its best qualities, but I'll save all of that for the tea review I'll be writing over at the Tea Review Blog.

But the bigger questions are: Can we still support Greg Mortensen's ideas without supporting deceptive method of collecting charity?  Can we still like the tea regardless of the bizarre circumstances that it came to us?

My answer to both is: Why yes, of course.  I still like the idea of our relationship going from stranger to friendship to family while drinking several cups of tea.  It continues to be a naive but powerful idea.

And as much as I love high quality Darjeeling tea, it's a pleasure to get to know other tea from the Himalayan regions.

So, I'll talk more about how it tastes in my tea review, but you want to see the leaves, don't you?  Here they are:

Karakorum Cha Cha Cha

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Red Rose Tea memories

Periodically, I'll hear someone ask how I got into tea.  Or it's a common interview question when tea obsessives are interviewed.  Logical question, isn't it?

Because I've written this blog with the tea newcomer in mind, I'm always looking for things that'd be interesting for just such readers.  

I've mentioned Cara in Cleveland before when I wrote Must one study tea to really appreciate it?, and she's told me a bit about a brand I've not yet tried called Red Rose Tea.

The thing is I can't really call Cara in Cleveland a newcomer to tea, because she's shared tea with her grandmother most of her life.  Part of this blog's mission is to lure people over to the leaf-side.  Although she already associates tea drinking with pleasant memories of loved ones, she's not really convinced on this whole tea drinking lark.

I'm rather certain that if we find the right sort of tea, Cara in Cleveland will gladly come join us on the leaf-side.

More on that at a later time.  What I want to do today is let Cara tell us in her own words what tea drinking means to her.  I asked her to tell me about the tea that reminds her of the times she's had with her grandmother.  Here's what she wrote:

I never slept well away from home and Grandma always seemed to know when I was awake and nervous. We would sit in the front room; in the dim light of a flickering orange bulb meant to simulate a candle. She would bring small crackers covered in butter and mugs of Red Rose Tea.

I didn't like the tea then; it was strange with an earthy smell and tasted like the oak leaves that got in my mouth in the fall when I jumped in large piles my Grandfather raked but slightly sweeter. I drank it because I got listen to Grandma her tell stories. Sometimes she would talk about my mother as a child or me when I was a  baby but if I was very lucky and she had just purchased a new box she would give me the figurine.
Red Rose Tea started in Canada in the late 1800's as a loose leaf tea and came to the States in the 1920's in bags. The company started a promotional give away  in the 1960's; each box of tea included a Wade figurine. These small figurines became highly collectible and my collection lived on Grandma's kitchen windowsill for years. I still get excited now, some 30 years later, when I open a box and find my figurine. My most recent purchase included a miniature Uncle Sam which now sits comfortably in my shadowbox next to a kitten sitting on top of a Jack-o-lantern.
Grandma used Red Rose Tea for her iced tea as well, she would set a large container of water and a handful of floating tea bags on the back steps in the summer to steep in the sun. I remember that large container with yellow daisies painted on it and the bright yellow lid. It was usually a blur as I burst out of the back door and skipped down the steps to make my flamboyant entrance in the pool. My summer lunches included that sun tea (with extra lemon and a heaping tablespoon of sugar) and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

My wonderful adventures with my Grandfather stopped four years ago and tea with my Grandmother is now just a few precious times a year. I have grown accustomed to the taste of Red Rose Tea and drink it more for nostalgic reasons than anything. That strange taste, I've never quite grown to like, on my tongue releases wonderful memories of times I miss.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

tea drinking in Weimar

What Goethe & Schiller need is a nice cup of tea
Spent several days in Weimar this week, and if you know anything about me and this blog, you know that my first question was, 'What sort of tea shops are there in this historically/artistically rich city?'

Well, I have good news for you.  For a city its size, there's quite a tea presence.  Nothing tea-related made the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but that certainly shouldn't keep you away.

Weimars Teehaus
The first place I found was Weimar Teehaus Jürgen Teuner.  Here's their site.  It's a shop filled with tea from Ronnefeldt among a few other tea brands, and it reminded me of my trip to Stuttgart last year where I wrote more about this brand: In defence of a brand of teabags

I've been positive about this brand, and I'd like to repeat that I've been impressed with the reliability of this company's tea.  They offer it in many hotels here in Germany, and I can see why it's so popular.  If you find one of their teas that you like, you can be rather certain that when you buy it again, it'll taste nearly or exactly the same.

If you're fascinated with the unique taste of a tea from a specific estate and how subtle the taste changes from year to year, then you're probably better off going to a specialty shop. Which is exactly where I went next.

Tee Boutique

Around the corner from the Schiller Haus is just such a shop.  It's called Tee Boutique, and I had a really enjoyable conversation with its owner Frank Krebs.  He's actually who I was referring to in my last post when I mentioned passionate tea sellers.  He's exactly that and more.

The selection of tea at the Tee Boutique was quite good (especially for a city this size) and his answers to tea questions I heard put to him while I was there were both succinct and comprehendible.  Not always the case in tea shops.  You can see more about this shop here.

But please dig a bit'll be glad you did.  If you look at the Fotogalerie and scroll all the way the down to the bottom, you'll see his mobile teapot.  He's added a handle and a spout to his car, and art car I'd happily drive.  I must say I was quite envious when I saw the photos.

Although I've mostly talked about these two tea shops, I was also pleasantly surprised at how nicely tea was served in numerous cafes I visited.  

Both the Frauentor and the ACC Cafe-Restaurant served loose-leaf tea in beautiful Japanese cast iron teapots with Kandis and plenty of water for multiple infusions.  Doesn't sound like something worth mentioning, does it?  But that's just the point.  There was thought put into the presentation.  As a tea drinker, I felt like these cafes had made a special effort.  As a result, in the few days I was in Weimar, I went back to them again and again.

There was an anecdote in a book I leafed through about whether Goethe preferred coffee or tea, but I'll leave that for another time.  Something for you to look forward to.  

proof that I sometimes put milk in my Ceylon

Thursday, 13 October 2011

tea obsessives handling the leaves

arriving in Weimar

Things are afoot hereabouts.  I mentioned that I was talking to a tea review website a few weeks ago and considering writing for them.  After telling you about it, I really should've mentioned that I decided to do it.  I'll link to them when I write proper reviews there, and give you more stories and whimsy here.  It's certainly what you've come to expect, isn't it?

Here's a link to The Tea Review Blog.  You'll be seeing plenty from me over there soon enough.

Another thing I've decided to start doing here is something a bit like the interviews I read on other blogs.  Rather than it always being in a question and answer format, I might ask someone to write a guest blogpost or even print out a conversation I have with a tea seller or fellow tea obsessive.

Got to thinking about it after a very interesting chat I had with a guy who happened to be both.  We were  in his tea shop in Weimar this week, and afterwards I began to marvel at how many incredibly passionate people there are in tea.

When I travel to places both here in Germany and farther afield, I make a point of searching out both tea shops and nice places to actually have a cup of tea.  More often than not, I find myself deep in conversation with astoundingly passionate tea people.

Think about it.   You have a shop where you greet people throughout the day with wildly different levels of experience regarding tea.  Many have stumbled in off the street curious how a whole shop could be dedicated to something they associate with a simple bag of leaves.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have tea snobs who saunter into your store and assume that they know more about tea than you ever will. Then there's an entire range of people between those two poles.

Peter (at Tea Trade) and I have talked about the incredible novelty of this whole loose-leaf tea endeavour several times.  The fact that the customer is not only able to interact manually with the product, but that it's actually an integral part of the whole process.  Handling the leaves, I mean.

So that's what I've been thinking about recently.  The remarkable nature of what we're doing here.  I'm sure model railroad enthusiasts and stamp collectors and Magic: The Gathering World Champions are all very passionate, as far as it goes.  But I'm not into those things, so I don't get remotely interested in their passion.

Oh, one last thing.  Alex Zorach wrote something funny (and mentioned this blog in the process), so I thought I'd send you all over there.  Tea, Like a G6.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

caffeine in green tea

a very green path to Weimar

I've made a point of writing this blog partially for people new to tea drinking or curious about tea.  Periodically, someone will ask me a question, whether it's in my daily life or on twitter, and I assume that others are wondering the same thing and just not asking.

So earlier this evening @allisonjp asked me, 'Is there caffeine in green tea?'

Let me be very clear on this one (it's important for a couple of reasons)...there is definitely caffeine in green tea.  Definitely.  Yes.

Why is he making such a big deal about this?

Because there's a lot of misinformation out there about caffeine and tea.

Some examples of things that're absolutely NOT TRUE:

Most of the caffeine comes out of the tea in the first steeping.  After you've steeped the tea once, it's safely decaffeinated (This is completely false.  There might be less caffeine the second or third time around while steeping a tea, but it's not without caffeine).

Green tea and/or white tea doesn't have caffeine ( way.  Don't believe it).

I've read a few reliable studies about how much caffeine is in different sorts of tea, and at some point I'll blog more thoroughly about it.

In the meantime if you don't have a problem with caffeine, enjoy that green tea.  With all of its delicious caffeine.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Drinking tea for a second wind

Arrived in Weimar for completely non-tea-related reasons, and an already long day stretched out ahead of me.  There was an Onion Festival going on over the last three days, and to be honest I couldn't wait to drop off my bags and go see what the fuss was all about.

Before rushing back out the door, I decided to quickly brew a flask of tea.  I'd been sent some Darjeeling teabags from Hampstead Tea, and this is exactly the sort of situation I've chosen to use them.  Perfect on the go.

Then there was a lot of walking.  I have a pair of eager-to-run hunting dogs (Hungarian Vizslas).  I know quite a bit about walking.  This was a demanding amount of walking even by my standards.  But I endured.  There were onions to be sampled.  Onion soup, onion bread, onion cake...if this were an onion blog, I'd have quite a blogpost for you.

But it's not.  It's a humble teablog.  So?  What do I have to say about tea?

Well, at some point the sun was shining, my legs were rebelling, and I was getting unexpectedly irritable. At that point, a park appeared before me like an oasis in the desert, and I suddenly remembered the flask of hot, delicious Darjeeling in my bag.

Quite simple when such an opportunity presents itself.  Sitting in the sunny rays and sipping that brown luscious goodness, I was once again surprised by something I've experienced again and again and again.

There's nothing that'll give me a second wind quite as nice as a cup, or even an entire flask, of tea.  It's somehow simultaneously relaxing and invigorating.  Sometimes I'm curious how that works exactly.  Today I was simply grateful.

your teablogger just before enjoyment of tea

Thursday, 6 October 2011

hear the call of Lörelei

Quite a lot has been written lately about pure tea.  Camellia Sinensis.  And that's all.

I've asked before why it seems like French tea shops have so many flavoured teas, and on a number of occasions in the last several weeks I've heard someone say that Germany is a source for a lot of the flavours that're used in these teas.  I don't have any data to support that, but in this case I'd rather just bring up the topic.

Many shops offer a great variety of both flavoured and pure tea.  If I were a shop owner and I knew that my customers liked Caramel Rooibus, I'd stock it and sell it happily.  The same goes for any of the other flavoured teas that're available.

But me?  I steer clear of the stuff.  I drank Earl Grey years ago, but have weaned myself of that Bergamot-soaked concoction.  Actually, I just slowly got tired of the taste.  Became more interested in tasting the leaf and nothing but the leaf.

The funny thing is that I see a lot of flavoured tea being reviewed, sold, talked about...I'm still open to try the stuff.  Bergamot comes from oranges.  It's not as if it's an unnatural substance.  I've heard that there are noticeable gradations.  That someone attuned to it can tell if poor quality Bergamot oil was used.  I can believe that.

I don't want to have to drink enough Earl Grey again in order to learn that distinction.  There are plenty of tea drinkers/reviewers who actually like drinking it.  I'll leave that experience to them.

But I am still curious about curious about the flavoured tea I see here and there.  When Xavier came to visit this summer, he brought a curious package of a tea from Le Palais des Thés that I would've never bought for myself.  It's called Lörelei, and here's what they're website says about it:


'The warmth of cinnamon, the mild sweetness of vanilla and the subtlety of almonds.'  To some, including me, that'd normally be something to be avoided.  Pure tea for me, please.

But a funny thing happened when I tried it.  It wasn't so bad.  It's a nice change.  I've served it as a dessert tea, and it's been rather well received.

I still worry that any flavoured tea is using the flavour to cover up subpar tea.  That's a concern, right?  But this helps my resolve to stay open to these things I'd normally turn up my nose at.

Doesn't mean I'm going to go out of my way to drink more Earl Grey.  I've had more than my share of that.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Tea Cup of Friends

tea party in the making
I mentioned Katrina Ávila Munichiello's new book last week when I wrote the first steeping of the Tea Reader.  I'm still excited about digging deeper into this book.  Rather than read it straight through cover to cover, I've resolved to pick and choose the essays that jump out at me.  But where to start?

Well, I saw Stephanie Lemmons Wilson's blog announcing the same book.  You can read it here:

Exciting News: Tea Reader

Even more interesting? Stephanie's written one of the pieces (A Tea Cup of Friends).  What better place to start reading this book might there be?  Yeah, I thought so too.

It's a sentimental, in the best sense of the word, look at saying goodbye to tea friends in one place and moving across the country.  Not knowing new people to share her passion for tea with, she initially feels lonely...even more distant from her friends back 'home'.

These aren't Stephanie's words, but she makes it clear that her text/words shouldn't be used without her permission.  You'll have to rely on my retelling/paraphrasing. Eventually, she meets another tea lover.  She's invited to speak at the next planned tea party, and she begins to feel much more a part of the community thanks to the tea friends in the new city.

The piece ends with a poem that tells the same story in verse.  It's quite nice, and I can definitely see why Katrina chose to include it.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

reunify around one sort of black tea blend

You know I can't let German Reunification Day go by without at least touching on it a little bit, right?  Those of you who read this blog even semi-regularly must've expected some mention of this one. Although I posted this a day early, the actual date of commemoration is 3 October.

Not only is it a very important historical moment, but I have the day off tomorrow.  

'Wait, you always have the day off.  Are you even employed?', I hear you asking.

Definitely employed.  I'm so gainfully employed that I'm already relishing the wild and limitless impending celebrations.  Celebrations that every last German will be participating in with enthusiasm and fervour.  Well, maybe not.

Actually not at all.  Many Germans I talk to say they can't imagine a Germany still divided.  But that doesn't mean these Germans are actually celebrating reunification.  They're speechless when they hear surveys cited where some former East Germans even say that they wish they could go back to the time of the Berlin Wall.

The response to this from the people who've been paying a Solidaritätszuschlag, which is a tax levied on many West Germans to help ease the transition of East Germany to a modern economy, is that it'd be nice to let those unhappy with the present situation go back to the old ways (if you really want to know more about this Solidarity surcharge, look at this Wikipedia article on Taxation in Germany).

But I'm getting far too deep into history and/or politics for a teablog.  My obvious question is:

What tea does one drink for German Reunification Day?

I refer you to my middle of the road blend post from the summer.  The perfect tea for both East and West Germany is an Ostfriesen Blend.  No matter what one thinks about the politics or the Solidarity surcharge, all can agree that this sort of blend is something Germans can be proud of.