Blog: Tea and Time

11

Mar 2016

Tea and Time

Posted by

We Brits have our own special way of doing tea. Or at least my mum’s generation did; nowadays many of us just use a teabag and the whole tea-ceremony has disappeared. But back in the day when loose tea was the norm and collecting Brooke Bond cards was a passion, you had to warm the pot, give the tea 4 mins to brew and then decide milk first or second?

Always milk first. The chemists tell me this is backed up by schoolboy chemistry: ‘acid to base’ and all that.

Around the world, during many of our rides, tea time is respected: not only because making tea from scratch creates a better brew, but because performing the tea-ritual provides time. So in Argentina we have the maté “ceremony”; that’s too grand a word, but even in the       remotest camp the vaqueros take pride in producing their brew. Hot water (never boiling) is added to the herb and the first couple of brews discarded; then the cup is circulated. Each little cup holds just two or three sips before being returned to the master of ceremony to be refill and passed to the next person. And you never say “Thank you” until the cup’s been around the group several times, and saying thank you indicates you have had your fill. There’s never any rush involved.

Mate

Maté is a bit of an acquired taste, but the maté ceremony is social and inclusive; a great way to end a day’s ride.

 Marrakech riad (25)

 On our Moroccan ride we have a close encounter with mint tea. This is a class apart from the garden mint grown in the UK and has a spearmint dimension. The brew is made in a silver kettle and the first two batches are, similar to maté, poured and returned to the kettle. Then the minty brew is served sweet and steamy, in small shot-glasses. Lovely! There’s never any rush involved.

Chai walah with terracota cups           chai walla1

And the fourth contender has to be chai from Rajasthan. Perhaps the most delightful brew of them all! But you mustn’t think “tea” when you first encounter it. We are accustomed to good ol’ Brooke Bond, or similar, and chai is nothing like that. True, chai starts out with the leaf of Orange Peko but a cocktail of spices is added, along with sugar and lots of milk, to create something that is distinctly different from anything Mr Brooke Bond ever brewed. At the end of a day’s ride chai is refreshing and re-invigorating, but it is proudly its own concoction. There’s never any rush involved.

In the Venture Co office we have a tea pot, maté (which does travel well from Argentina) and home-made chai using a recipe of spices brought home from Rajasthan. But I have never found a way to bring home Morocco’s mint – it just doesn’t travel. And there’s no doubt that all these forms of tea taste much better in their place of origin where there’s never any rush involved.

Mumbai Cutting Chai

Please select the social network you want to share this page with:

We like you too :)

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec tincidunt dapibus dui, necimas condimentum ante auctor vitae. Praesent id magna eget libero consequat mollis.

SIMILAR POSTS