Your other half looks at you expectantly over your small mountain of Christmas presents. They have spent the last month rei-tea-rating that they will NOT be buying you ‘any more F**KING tea’ to commemorate Jesus’ (alleged) birth. They swear blind that they won’t. Absolutely, definitely and unequivocally NOT going to get you any. The present buyer doth protest too much…
You tear open your questionably wrapped present, chomping at the tea infuser to find out what it is. The hope that it might be tea is far from your too-many-After-Eights-before-9am befuddled mind. Could it be the obligatory self-help book that tells you to say no, say yes and/or say anything more to be happy? Perhaps it is a frustra-tea-ing brain teaser that will keep you busy until at least Christmas dinner, never to be picked up again? Or, is it simply a double-ended dildo?
No. It is not any of the former, perfectly predictable presents (thanks Mom for the last one by the way, really useful). To your shock, horror and surprise, it IS tea. Yes, that TEA you were REPEA-TEA-DLY ASSURED you would not be receiving, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. And that tea, that sweet nectar, that gorgeous gift…is Sri Tea Blue Pekoe.
Yup Twitchers, Ms Tetley Tight Lips (oh behave – the ones on her face), bought me some Sri Tea for Christmas. Completely unaided. With no clue whether it was loose leaf or not. From…wait for it…TK Maxx (she left the price tag on, that’s how I found out). I know, I was dubious too.
However, I have been pleasantly surprised by this blend that I have never had before from a company I have never heard of. Sri Tea get their name from the Sri Lankan tea leaves that form the basis of their products, yet are based in the North East of England; never heard of a Geordie Sri Lankan before either. Wye aye!
The mystery continues, as Sri Tea ‘Blue Pekoe’ is a grade/kind that doesn’t exist in common tea vernacular. ‘Pekoe’ refers to the grade of black tea according to the part of the camellia sinensis (tea plant) it comes from. If leaves are harvested from near the bottom of the plant, they are larger, more prone to be collected along with dust and other non-tea related bits and bobs, resulting in a lower grade/quality of tea. So, the further up the plant you go, the smaller the leaves and the finer the grade as they are picked by hand and consist only of the leaf buds. The best grade of tea then – or the straight A* spotty boffin of brews that will go on to own Apple – is a Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP). The grade down is an Orange Pekoe, or the A/B student that is captain of the footie team and probably amazing in bed. Yet, Blue Pekoe is not a grade of tea that I or Wikipedia have come across, unless Sri Tea have played God and made up their own (so, the Dungeons & Dragons playing nerd that makes up their own world to fit in somewhere).
Ergo, we can only assume that ‘Blue’ refers to an added ingredient to the blend that gives it the ‘digestion aiding’ properties as helpfully stated on the box. The very same box that rather unhelpfully doesn’t tell you what is in it.
Anyway, whatever its providence, Sri Tea Blue Pekoe was bloody lovely.
Using the new third wheel in my relationship with Miss PG Piggy – my ForLife Stump Teapot – I brewed up the enigma that is Sri Tea Blue Pekoe for the recommended five minutes. I took a cautionary sip, and was treated to a deep, full bodied and malty Ceylon tea with sexy chocolate undertones. These cocoa-ey notes were further enhanced by some trusty milk and sugar, making for a top notch breaky brew with a sweet twist. I’m not sure about its digestion aiding properties – although it was the season to eat your bodyweight in Wenslydale after all – but it is a versatile tea. It has the caffeine crunch and familiar morning cuppa taste to enjoy with the most important meal of the day; yet also has that decadent chocolate flavour perfect for an afternoon pick me up or after dinner treat.
Despite Ms Bag Biatch Fo’Lyf’s ignorance, she has somehow managed to find me a new staple for my brew arsenal in the form of Sri Tea Blue Pekoe. I’m so impressed with it that I urge you all to scour the shelves of TK Maxx’s home aisle like crazed Boxing Day shoppers on crack for your own box. Bold, black with a heart of sweet gold, this tea is a respectable all-rounder that you need in your life. Just like Queen La-tea-fa.