Thursday, January 14, 2010

South African Sunshine

That, my friends, is a Gothic organ, suitable for a sung Mozart mass, I would suppose. It still has a beautiful sound, even if it is about 300 years old. Today it should play the Hallelujah Chorus for all the sun we are having, great warm wonders of it!

A young friend of ours from South Africa was due to visit just before Christmas. Due to the weather, he never got to come. However, the tea he brought me has finally arrived. It is ordinary South African tea, straight from a grocer's shelf. Quite similar to ours, but quite different at the same time.

The first I tried is Five Roses Select African Blend, a mix of Kenya, Central and Southern Africa teas. It comes in tagless teabags, in foil packets. The box suggests you put it in a tin to preserve freshness and keep it from odors. The tea itself is definitely fannings grade – really really tiny bits. Just like a lot of ours. However, there are differences. One is that it smelled very pleasantly of newly cut wood with an herbaceous twist, not at all heavy. The tea master for Five Roses – Dinesh Wijeyawardana suggests brewing it for 3-5 minutes. Oh, right, I said, it'll be so strong and tannic it will be undrinkable. But I got distracted and it did indeed brew for about 5 minutes. I decided to drink it anyway, just to see. Quell suprise, as the French might say! It was not horrific! Instead it was a pleasant straightforward black tea. The kind you'd like in the morning when you can't think or to grab sometime when you just can't make up your mind. Really decent stuff.
The second, again packaged very well was Cedarlife 100% Organic Honeybush, from select mountains of the eastern Cape region of South Africa. This was also to be brewed with boiling water for 5-6 minutes, which I did. It smelled sweet and, well, of honey. Which is also what it tasted like. I put a bit of lemon in it as I am not a big sweet drink fan, but that made it quite nice. They also recommend it iced and I think I will try that this summer.

I hope someday to go to South Africa – it is a beautiful country – but for now, I will content myself with drinking their tea. I wonder what the two together would be like? Thanks to JJ and his mom for getting these to me, in spite of the weather.

1 comment:

JJ said...

Awesome review, I am glad that you liked the tea. I hope to have you here one day, so we can enjoy a cup together.