Monday, February 05, 2007

Tetley to the rescue

Further to my last post, Jessica from TetleyUSA left a message on my blog offering to help me out with the dilemma of my vanishing tea stock. (Who would have thought I had readers at Tetley?) She said she'd love to send me some of their British blend tea to try.

After giving her an address to send the tea, I thought no more about it. This afternoon I went out to do some errands and on my return there was a box waiting for me outside the garage door.

"I'm not expecting a package," I said to Larry. "Are you?"

Though we're going away in a few weeks to New Orleans and then taking a one week cruise, it seemed far too large a package to come from the cruise line if they were sending us unexpected information about the trip.

I went to it and saw it was from DHL and it was for moi. Then I saw the sender was TetleyUSA.

Wow, she sent it by courier, I thought. Highflying VIP teabags! It made me think of the ad on telly where the United States Postal Service Priority Package on top of the reception desk chats to the lowly plant in the foyer, telling it in a snobby tone that she's a very important legal document and has no time to talk because she's waiting for the postman to come and collect her because she has to be at court at a certain time--theme being the postal service comes to you. I rushed inside and tore open the package. Inside was a Tetley gift bag containing a box of British Blend tea, a small canister of English Breakfast tea AND a new blue tea mug.

Moreover, the lady had written me a note in which she expressed a hope that I'd enjoy the tea and gave a brief history of Tetley, which is an English tea company (a fact I knew) and that teas from 30 different countries are purchased at auction and blended in England by trained tea masters (facts I did not.)

So I'm now sitting waiting fro the kettle to boil to make a cuppa of the British Blend. I chose this one because she stated in the note it would taste the same as the tea I've been carting over from teh UK through the years. This nugget of info I decided to treat with a bit of Irish skepticism while waiting for the kettle to boil.

Pause while I tend to the tea things, fetch a chocolate chip cookie (not usually on the menu, but a treat today given the specialness of the occasion) and drink my tea--not from the new mug. I must confess to being a trifle nervous because I intend to be honest in my assessment and suspect Jessica (if she reads this) will consider me an ungrateful tea whore if I cannot praise the gift.


It is true that a watched kettle refuses, simply refuses to boil.

Anticipation and nerves continue to dual. To assuage the latter, I decided to perform a sniff test of the British Blend teabags and my last two bags of the UK tea. Both have the same aroma so things look good. The same Tea Master blender, perhaps?

Tea's over. It tasted excellent. While it was not the exact same flavor as the tea I'd brought over from the UK, it has the same strong body and pleasing flavor. Because the tea sold here is made by the same Tetley tea masters in the UK, I wondered why there would be a difference. Then it dawned on me. This tea was fresh out of the packet and mine--purchased seven months ago--is older and has mellowed. In any event, I can now buy my Tetley tea here. But I'll also buy some when I'm visiting over on the other side because...well, it's fun to bring something from home. It's feels like you're bringing a piece of home back to your other home. Maybe that also accounts for a bit of the difference in flavor, too.


Georganna Hancock said...

I should have so much luck with the Bigelow tea company. Can't find my beloved Vanilla Hazelnut flavor nearby. The groceries in my community stock all of the three other versions of vanilla-flavored Bigelow teas. I know, that must seem anathema to you, flavored tea.

Damian McNicholl said...

Actually, I like flavored teas now and again--Earl Grey being a particular favorite, Georganna

Good luck with your search