Sunday, August 30, 2009

In search of a Prince

I have always loved Prince of Wales tea. I think it may have been the first "real" tea I had a name for - by Twining's, of course and in the looseleaf can! For a long while it was impossible to get so I started searching for it among other purveyors. What a sad journey! Almost all of them put so much black currant in their tea that they invariably smelled like a male cat had sprayed it. And they didn't taste very good, either. Somehow, Twining's managed to make what I thought of as the good blend.

However, I am continuing the search and may have found another good blend of the Prince. I purchased a sample of Prince of Wales from The Tea Table. When I opened it it didn't smell too bad, almost a balance, still too heavy a scent of black currant, but not bad. For some reason it has yellow flower petals in it. As it brewed it didn't smell bad either, but the proof is in the taste, right? It actually may contend with Twinings, as all the different teas and flavorings come together to make a balanced whole! And it doesn't taste like cat spray, either - not that I've sampled any.
Neither of these Princes is an exquisite tea, rather they are pleasant and fill a sentimental, if you will, tea slot, so they are nice to find and to return to when a cup of comfort is neeed.
The lady in the picture is there because the Prince was such a lady's man - Edward that is, Victoria's son. She lives in the garden at the summer palace in Vienna. He probably would have found her charming.
I just finished reading an excellent book on tea - The True History of Tea by Victor H Mair and Erling Hoh. It covers everything, probably far more than most people want to know, from beginnings in China, India, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, Kenya and almost everywhere else. It is very thorough and actually covers very recent things about tea. I found it a bit over heavy on names and dates I will never remember, but if the budget only allows for one history book, this is a good one. I found that reading a chapter at a time allowed me to absorb it all better and I thik I am going to re-read it so I get more from it. I got my copy from Amazon.
Speaking of booksellers, http://www.alibris.com/ has a wonderful selection of used tea books and they aren't all about how to have tea parties. They have old and new selections and you can make up a wish list. Their prices are quite good, I think.

I really envy so many under 30's who are developing a tea palate now. As we age, our tongue begins to lose the ability to discriminate tastes. I wish I had started a long time ago. Oh well, there it is, I'll do what I can and taste as much as I can of the new stuff soming out!

2 comments:

Steven Knoerr said...

Marlena:

I'm enjoying your blog, and your stream-of-consciousness style is an enjoyable read.

Well, perhaps Tea Table could use you to write their ad copy. "Tea Table's Prince of Wales. So good, it doesn't smell like a cat sprayed it!"

marlena said...

Probably not, I would imagine their customers might take issue