Ah – tea. This is a matter of crucial importance to many Brits and I am no exception. I am of the opinion that a good cuppa can solve many of the world’s ills, or at least delay having to actually deal with them. Tea is a matter close to my heart, and so I was delighted when Expats.cz recently offered me the opportunity to explore some of Prague’s tea houses (čajovny). I have been out and about sampling their delights, all in the name of research. It has been great fun and I feel like a slightly less witty AA Gill. You can see my initial reviews online – click here.
My earliest memorable tea-drinking experience was
absolutely hideously mortifying slightly embarrassing Picture the scene: aged five and on holiday with my family. I was allowed to have a very weak cup of tea at bedtime as a special ‘grown up’ treat. Sadly, my tiny five-year old bladder could not cope with this and a few hours later I inevitably wet myself. Hideous. Even more unfortunate, we were on holiday on a canal boat and (having taken against the bunk bed option for some reason) I had snuck into my parents’ bed a few hours before the incident, which is where I still was as it happened. As you can imagine, I was not very popular and didn’t drink tea again for several years.
Maturing slightly and with greater bladder control, my university years hailed an era of tea drinking. As well as the small matter of getting a degree, much of my university career seems to have been spent with two very lovely ladies, drinking an awful lot of tea: Strong brew at breakfast. Tea and cake in the afternoon. Post-night out tea and toast. A cuppa to help the hangover the next morning. At any time of day, tea was an appealing option. Collectively, we seemed to endure far-too-frequent emotional turmoil and had a ready stash of Earl Grey for such occasion. Happily, my two chums were also the kind of women to know when a crisis was too big to be solved with tea alone and were ready to bring in the big guns – twenty Marlborough Lights and a litre of Jack Daniels – if needed.
Fast forward a few years and I have now met and married a man from Devon, home of the Great British Cream Tea. This is a man who takes his tea (and cake) very seriously indeed and so my tea-drinking days look set to continue far into the future.
I have a confession to make though: I don’t like normal builders’ tea. Gasp. Really – PG Tips are wasted on me. I don’t enjoy it very much, make a very bad cuppa (according to both my sister and hubby – how ungrateful) and would much rather have Earl Grey (even in the morning which, if you are English you will know ignores tea-etiquette entirely). Luckily, Czech tea culture has opened the door to a much wider range of tea than I ever knew existed: all sorts of white and yellow teas, oolong tea, ginger tea (not really tea at all but very lovely) – all of which I will explore through the next few reviews. It has made me realise that even though we are a nation obsessed with a good brew, when it comes to tea, the British are not particularly adventurous.
I hope you enjoy the reviews. If it all goes horribly wrong please supply fags and Jack Daniels. Sometimes tea just won’t quite cut it.