Tea

When I was younger, I never really cared much for tea. Yes, I did drink it and enjoyed it but that was about it. In 2007 I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to go on a job assignment in Japan for 3 months. During that time I was introduced, while not for the first time, to Japanese green tea. I have tried green tea before but never on a almost regular basis like this. Over there in Japan, green tea is to them at restaurants as what "Air suam" is to us. It is a standard drink with every mean, with free refills! Another popular drink over there was "Oolong cha" which is Japanese for Oolong or Chinese tea. 


Somehow tea in Japan just makes sense, in a way that I could have it even without any sugar - and everyone knows I like my sugar... hehehe. It is here where I started noticing the different types of tea available on the market. Of course I brought home some green tea with me when I got back but when that ran out, I started to look for local versions and before i knew it, I had already developed a taste or green tea. Only the green tea i bought, the Boh one isn't so nice and gave me a strange obnoxious feeling if over infused... not good...I still haven't finished that box of green tea...


Fast forward another 2 years, 2009. This is when I planned my "great" solo back packing trip across Spain and Morocco. I have always held the opinion that travel broadens the mind and opens the heart. Especially if you travel solo. For most of my travels, I was alone and when you're alone you tend to be friendlier and ask more questions, make more friends. When I was in Granada, which is in Spain and is where the awesome Alhambra is I started to make friends with this Moroccan shop keeper. He sold souvenirs at this shop in between Alhambra and the hotel I stayed at. I was there for 2 days and everytime I was in town, I'd pass by his shop. Because his english was kinda ok, we managed to have quite a few engaging conversations. Sometimes I'd un knowingly pass by his shop and he'd call me out by calling me "Amigo!" hehehe... We never really asked each other's names. It's a shame I forgot to take a photo with him or even get his Facebook/email address. He was telling me that he was getting married in a few months and he said that it was too expensive to get married in Spain so he's getting married in Morocco. 20,000 euros is the standard wedding cost if he were to get married in Spain!

Anyways, I also bought most of my souvenirs from him (which weren't much either as I bargained for the stuff i bought) and in return he gave me a packet of Andalucian tea. He said it wasn't available in Morocco after I told him if I could get it in Morocco. I didn't think much of it at the time, not until I got back to Malaysia and tried it. It  was the best tea I've ever tasted in my life!! It has a smooth taste with a subtle hint of orange. Perfect for my taste buds! I was really sad when I ran out of it. I've been looking all around for it in Malaysia to no avail. I asked my friend in the UK to look for some if she could find any there but the best she came up with was this Moroccan blend tea which had mint and spices. Very close but not it.



It was pretty strange as when I was in Morocco, I stayed in their "riyads" or those moroccan houses with a patio in the centre and seats overlooking the patio/garden. Upon arrival, they will serve visitors mint tea, which was not the Lipton Moroccan tea I got. Anyway, the point I'd like to make is that the tea was the sweetest tea I've ever tasted! Even with my sweet tongue it tasted too sweet. I wonder why the people there don't all have diabetes?! 

Coming back from Morocco, my substitution tea as this Dilmah Moroccan mint tea. Not so minty but nice enough. If I wanted a more minty flavour then I guess I could buy my own mint leaves and infuse it together with the tea. The best thing is that this tea is readily available at supermarkets so I don't have to pay extortionate prices at specialty stores. 


Fast fast forward, last week I used up the last tea bag of my Lipton Moroccan tea. I thought I'd dissect the tea bag and see what makes it tick... It said on the box that it contains cinnamon, Chicory Root, Rosehips, Liquorice, Orange peel, Natural flavouring (i wonder what that is really? Secret ingredient maybe?) and spearmint. Cutting open the teabag reveals this:






Not much I could make out from this, so I took a picture of it and threw the stuff away. It's amazing what goes into these tea bags. If you search the net you can find all sorts of tea from green to yellow to black. From tea from leaves to teas from flowers. Over here we have our standard "Boh" Cameron highland tea. That's all the tea that most Malaysians know of. Maybe that is a good thing - support local businesses. But next time you brew your cup of tea, know that there are hundreds of different flavoured teas available out there!


My latest attempt at finding an Andalucian tea substitution:




The verdict is, the tangerine has a funny after taste to it... I'm not sure if i can finish all 25 of these...:s Anyways, if anybody is going to Granada anytime soon, please get me some Andalucian tea! =)