“If I’m in Italy, I’m going to have a cappuccino and two small brioches and then a mix of orange and grapefruit. I don’t drink tea in Italy.”
I can forgive Christian Louboutin for saying this – after all, Italy is the coffee country by definition, right?
Yet, I drank tea all my life.
And I’m Italian.
My parents both have drunk coffee – espresso naturalmente – all their lives, but for breakfast and in the afternoon, my mum always made me a cup of tea. We had the classics, Darjeeling, Assam and Ceylon tea, as well as some unusual teas that my father brought back from his work trips to China and Japan.
Later on, as an adult travelling the world, I tried to include visits to tea plantations where possible on my travels. I was always keen to explore new teas and their intriguing flavours. Gradually, I became more enamoured and bought books about tea, went onto tea tasting classes, and slowly developed a love for this fascinating drink.
Strangely, I never harboured the same affection for coffee. I opted for tea as it seemed far more exciting with abundant flavours to taste without the need for any artificial flavours, sugar or milk.
So there you go, an Italian tea drinker. Stranger things have happened.
As I became more besotted with tea, I realised that to truly enjoy tea, I had to understand it better.
There was the fun part – drinking lots of tea, and as many different varieties as possible. And then there was all the theory to it too.
You see, just like with wine, tea has many factors that determine its flavour, such as the origin, the climatic conditions, the plant variety, the manufacturing process, to name a few. It’s understanding these factors, and how they influence the flavour of a tea that makes this drink so exciting.
However, I soon realised that combining theory and practice was no easy feat! For instance, when I read about a certain tea, I had to source it ensuring it was of good quality, then I had try to identify what tea tasters or books described about that certain tea.
Most importantly, I had to compare one tea with several others. For example, to really understand how the time of picking affects the taste of a tea, I had to try a tea picked in spring, and then that same tea picked in summer and autumn. None of this was simple in any respect.
That’s when I came up with the idea of Taste for Tea as a way to make tea tasting more accessible to people and to help them understand tea and truly enjoy it.
I know people who have expressed an interest in tea can be easily put off by the language and the tea paraphernalia. With Taste for Tea, I’d like to change that; tea tasting should not be an intellectual exercise but something to savour.
We’re not far from launching Taste for Tea and it’s exciting to see how it’s all coming along.
If you love tea and would like to learn more about it but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Register your interest at tastefortea.com, you’ll also benefit from our early-bird offer if you decide to sign up when we launch.