One of my favorite scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail is when they are at the Bridge of Death and have to answer questions. My favorite part of that scene is when Galahad is asked what his favorite color. Read below to remember how that went…
BRIDGEKEEPER: Stop! What is your name?
GALAHAD: Sir Galahad of Camelot.
BRIDGEKEEPER: What is your quest?
GALAHAD: I seek the Grail.
BRIDGEKEEPER: What is your favorite color?
GALAHAD: Blue. No yel– auuuuuuuugh! [ explodes and dies ]
Now imagine if Galahad would have had to choose his favorite flavor of tea. What would he have said? Would he have said Lipton’s Plain Black Tea and then realized he meant to say Twinings Royal Blend?
Last month, when I was at a tea event, one of my friends said, “Since our group has been in session for a year now I wonder how our tastes for tea have changed?” This got me thinking and figured that this month would be the perfect month to post my thoughts in honor of National Hot Tea Month.
A year and a half ago you would find me only drinking possibly three different flavors, Tazo Awake, and just about any brand of English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast. Now after being involved with my own tea group and the bad tea group where I was removed, I have opened my eyes to the different brands and flavors of tea.
So if the Bridgekeeper asked me what my favorite flavor was I would tell him that I have several favorites at this time and that I could not choose. I am sure this would be unacceptable and I would then probably be shoved off the bridge to explode and die. Good thing this is not Monty Python!!
I think to start an analysis of my tea drinking experience, I should start with Black Teas. Black Teas are good for a good caffeine jolt or a good strong flavor. Like I said, in the past I would normally plop a tea bag of English or Irish Breakfast in my hot water and call it good. Now I stand in my kitchen and ponder which brand and flavor I am going to have (I really have become a tea snob). In my tea collection right now I have several different flavors of Black Tea. Harney & Sons Paris, Harney & Sons Chocolate Mint, Twinings Prince of Wales, Twinings English Breakfast, Twinings Irish Breakfast, Tazo Awake, Lipton Black Pearl, Lipton Vanilla Caramel Truffle, and I have several brands of an Afternoon Tea. So that makes how many black teas? 1, 2, 3…a grand total of at least 9 different types of black tea. I though over the past year and a half have tried other types of black tea that I do very much enjoy. One of my favorite tea flavors to order at Sweet Shalom is called Selah. I am not too sure who makes the tea as I thought it was Harney & Sons, but I could be wrong. The next time I go to Sweet Shalom I will have to take a look at the box!! Other black teas you can find me sipping are: Queen Catherine, and Darjeeling.
One tea that you will not find in my home collection of teas is Green Tea. I know…green tea is all good for you, but I can not stand the taste. Any type of tea that tastes like I am drinking the floor of a forest or fresh mowed grass is not for me. I nod my head to anyone who does like it…have a cup for me!
I learned about Rooibos teas this past year. I went to a tea tasting and this was one type of tea that I was very excited to try. Rooibos is an African tea that actually comes from a bush. Most teas come from trees and the leaves (tea leaves) are dried and rolled to be steeped in hot water. Rooibos is an African for Red Bush. Rooibos teas are caffeine free and tend to be blended with very sweet flavors. I have two Rooibos flavors in my collection here at home. One is a tea that I bought down in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The flavor is very fitting for the area (no, it is not called drunken chaos, but that would be funny!) called Bourbon Street Vanilla. It is very light sweet, and yet refreshing. This tea would be perfect to sip while enjoying an evening dessert. The other tea that I have is Teavanna Blueberry Bliss. Very sweet and could be served either hot or as an iced tea. This is one of my mother-in-law’s favorite flavors that she has at her house, thanks to me being a good daughter-in-law and sharing my tea with her! Most Rooibos teas are served with desserts due to their sweet flavors. My favorite rooibos teas have been the chocolate flavored teas. So good that you about don’t need any added sugar to your cup!
I as well have a few herbal teas, which are good if you are looking for something a bit on the light side. The herbal teas that I have are Teavanna Strawberry Lemonade, Harney & Sons Raspberry Herbal, and then one called Blue Eyes (this one doesn’t have a brand name since I bought it at the tea shop down in the French Quarter).
This past year to year and a half, it surprises me how many new flavors I have come to learn and love. I do challenge myself to get a different flavor each time I go to a tea house which is normally at least once a month if not twice a month. I give all of you tea drinkers a challenge. Try one new flavor each month as your New Years Resolution! I think that you will develop a liking to new flavors that you may have never thought of trying before!
So as you can see, I think it would be difficult for me to tell the bridgekeeper my favorite flavor of tea!! I think that it would have to depend on my mood that I was in, but I do think that it would end up being a black tea.
BRIDGEKEEPER: Stop! Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Amy the Tea Lover: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.
BRIDGEKEEPER: What is your name?
Amy the Tea Lover: My name is Madame Amy the Tea Lover of Olmsted.
BRIDGEKEEPER: What is your quest?
Amy the Tea Lover: To seek the world of tea.
BRIDGEKEEPER: What is your favorite tea flavor?
Amy the Tea Lover: At this moment Harney & Son’s Paris
BRIDGEKEEPER: Oh that sounds like a lovely bloody flavor! Right. Off you go.
Amy the Tea Lover: Yes, why thank you. It is an awesome flavor and you should try it today while you sit for your Afternoon Tea which will be around 2pm.