Tea with an attitude.

It’s strange that all of my favourite teas are named after some men of nobility, English and Russian aristocrats like Earl Grey and Prince Vladimir, both obviously with a penchant for citrus fruits, agrumes, as the French call them, in fact, bergamot is quite elegant an aroma, especially when compared to the bitter-sweet smoke than infuses your air when brewing a lapsang souchong, no Mediterranean orchards come to mind, you’re rather transported to some opium den in 1920s Shanghai, quite depraved a situation, you wanted nothing but tea and refreshment and suddenly you’re an outcast looking for oblivion, although I’m suddenly remembering a rather smokey blend by Twinings named Prince of Wales, but as there were also opium dens that mirrored the finest to be found in China, with luxurious trappings and female attendants—why not to HRH The Prince of Wales? And then there’s that Frenchman Mirabeau, a count involved in numerous scandals before and after 1789, he rooted for both king and revolution, nobody ever knew whose side he was ever really on—knowing this, it’s amazing he died of natural causes. Liquorice and lychee in Mariage Frères’ Mirabeau blend reflect quite accordingly his ambiguity: a down to earth character as long as the earth is done in chinoiserie.

Royal Tea.

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Spring offers amazing opportunities. To fall in love, to visit Paris, and, most importantly, to have tea in the garden which is so much better for your complexion than having it in front of a fireplace, or if you don’t have a fireplace (which I don’t), next to a couple of Diptyque candles and nearly getting suffocated by the contrasting scents of Feu de Bois and Tubéreuse, and suffocation is not very becoming, you’re quite green, believe you me. Anyway, this year I’ll probably spend even more time en plein air as my friend Katja from Luxembourg was mucking out her house and garden before moving to another place, meaning we are going to have tea on her Belle Époque-ish garden furniture that turned a spot under the cherry tree into a Savannah backyard. I have to order some more of Fortnum & Mason’s Royal Blend. You really can’t have Earl Grey at this table. Way too unimportant a title. Unless he’s going to be promoted to Duke Grey any time soon, we must fall out.

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