5

A number of years ago, me and some friends climbed the foothills of Mount Juktas, all the way up to Anemospilia. Ancient Minoan temple, human sacrifice, high priestesses – you know the drill. The weather was insane – Crete in January is rarely delightful weather wise, but this was a year of unprecedented winter storms. We were soaked just stepping out of the car and the hill was a muddy mess, but we got to the top eventually. It was maddeningly beautiful, of course. Sacred sites are best experienced like that; rain pouring, wind howling.

But hey, even the most intrepid explorers need lunch, so after carefully considering the layout of the bones and artifacts and contesting most of the conclusions drawn by former archaeologists (that’s how you’re supposed to do it) we left and eventually ended up at this tiny restaurant in an equally tiny village. We were very wet and very hungry. There was no menu, but we asked for whatever they had, which turned out to be bread, and olives, and this cheese I’ll never forget, and some other things that are even more beside the point, and then these little deep-fried fish.

Being Scandinavian, I’ve eaten various fish in the most horrifying preparations you could possibly dream up, but it just never occurred to me that you’d actually eat the whole thing. I always left the little tail end and the head. It just seemed more polite to the fish, you know? But then my friend turned to me, and said, ‘But the head is the best part!’ And she was right. And since that day, I always eat the whole thing of whatever is served, unless I’m expressly told otherwise.

This is just a very roundabout way of saying that I’m not very squeamish… and that this tea tastes exactly like small, deep-fried fish. And their heads. It smells like it too. I quite enjoy both the scent and the flavour, but it’s very confusing to experience it in liquid form, and not accompanied by the crunchiness I’m used to.

To me, there is nothing even remotely resembling orange in this cup; it’s a sipful of charcoaly, deep-fried sea creature. Even if it’s not for me, I have to say how I love the surprises some of these swap teas have given me – it’s been an unexpected treat not having the smallest clue what to expect from the brew.

Thanks to whoever shared this!

[Sample from the EU Travelling Box, autumn 2013.]

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
TheKesser

Love this review! Sounds like a really great experience! And even though I’m not a fish fan, I do like the comparison. I can’t image drinking a tea with that flavour, but it’s funny how teas can remind us of the oddest things.

keychange

hahaha the flavor of this tea sounds revolting! I’m glad you enjoyed it, though, and that it brought back such wonderful memories.

Anna

Well, keychange, you brought ‘curdled vomit’ to my dash, so I think you’re worse off – I don’t think I’d even dare try that tea.

K S

Safety tip: Never let Anna pick the diner. Eeeww. lol

Anna

Come on, K S, live a little! You gotta try the local specialties! May I interest you in some pickled herring?

cteresa

K S, depends! Anna sounds like an awesome company to pick dinner – deep fried whole little fish might be like an awesome idea. Might be bad, might be great, no way to tell. I have just been converted to how awesome jellyfish is. As food I mean.

JustJames

i like pickled herring…as long as there’s yoghurt. sorry… focused on the food ignored the tea, lol. i really should eat!

K S

I would sip puerh with you all. I might even snack on some fried insects but sorry I draw the line way this side of fish heads. Ah, but sadly I now have the fish head song stuck in my brain.

keychange

Omg! curdled vomit indeed! though I do promise that not all sips conjure up that…particular association.

TeaExplorer

The tea sounds unappetizing, but now I have a craving for pickled herring and some gjetost on limpa.

Anna

I’m down with the herring and the limpa (although never herring with anything other than white bread, that’s simply barbaric) but I will gladly let you have all the weird Norwegian cheese.

TeaExplorer

Nobody in our family would touch it except for my Mom and myself. Her influence is one of the reasons I go out of my way to try new things. And, yeah, I’d also eat the fish head if someone told me it was the best part.

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Comments

TheKesser

Love this review! Sounds like a really great experience! And even though I’m not a fish fan, I do like the comparison. I can’t image drinking a tea with that flavour, but it’s funny how teas can remind us of the oddest things.

keychange

hahaha the flavor of this tea sounds revolting! I’m glad you enjoyed it, though, and that it brought back such wonderful memories.

Anna

Well, keychange, you brought ‘curdled vomit’ to my dash, so I think you’re worse off – I don’t think I’d even dare try that tea.

K S

Safety tip: Never let Anna pick the diner. Eeeww. lol

Anna

Come on, K S, live a little! You gotta try the local specialties! May I interest you in some pickled herring?

cteresa

K S, depends! Anna sounds like an awesome company to pick dinner – deep fried whole little fish might be like an awesome idea. Might be bad, might be great, no way to tell. I have just been converted to how awesome jellyfish is. As food I mean.

JustJames

i like pickled herring…as long as there’s yoghurt. sorry… focused on the food ignored the tea, lol. i really should eat!

K S

I would sip puerh with you all. I might even snack on some fried insects but sorry I draw the line way this side of fish heads. Ah, but sadly I now have the fish head song stuck in my brain.

keychange

Omg! curdled vomit indeed! though I do promise that not all sips conjure up that…particular association.

TeaExplorer

The tea sounds unappetizing, but now I have a craving for pickled herring and some gjetost on limpa.

Anna

I’m down with the herring and the limpa (although never herring with anything other than white bread, that’s simply barbaric) but I will gladly let you have all the weird Norwegian cheese.

TeaExplorer

Nobody in our family would touch it except for my Mom and myself. Her influence is one of the reasons I go out of my way to try new things. And, yeah, I’d also eat the fish head if someone told me it was the best part.

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Bio

I’m going to try all the teas.

Then I will choose a lucky few perfect specimens, and we will live happily together in my tea cupboard.

Forever.

  • * *

2014

This year, all bets are off. I am going to drink both peppermint and chamomile and possibly suffer a little. But it’s okay – it’s for science.

I’m doing Project Jasmine, Project Peach and Project Unflavoured Green.

In terms of flavoured teas, Lupicia and Mariage Frères have become my massive favourites, and I have learned that Dammann Frères/Fauchon/Hédiard and Butiki aren’t really for me.

The O Dor, Adagio and Comptoir des thés et des épices are all on this year’s I’d like to get to know you better list.

2013

Getting back into tea drinking last fall, I was all about rooibos. This past spring has been all green tea, all the time, with some white additions over the summer. Currently attempting a slow, autumnal graduation to black teas. Oolongs are always appropriate.

The constant for me, flavour wise, is the strong presence of fruity and floral notes. Vanilla is lush, as long as it’s not artificial. Peach, berries, mango. Cornflower, rose, lavender.

No peppermint.

No chamomile.

No cinnamon.

Ever.

  • * *

My ratings don’t reflect the ‘What does this tea do for me?’ standard, but rather my own ‘What would I do for this tea?’ scale.

100-90
My absolute favourites. Teas I would travel for – or, in any case, pay exuberant postage for, because they simply have to be in my cupboard. Generally multi-faceted teas with complex scents and flavours. Teas with personality. Tricky teas.

89-80
Teas I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again if and when I came across them. Tea purchases I would surreptitiously weave into a travel itinerary (Oh! A Lupicia store! Here?! My word!).

79-70
Teas I enjoyed, but don’t necessarily need to make any kind of effort to buy again.

69-0
Varying degrees of disinterest and contempt.

Location

Rome, Italy

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