A smooth and fresh, medium-strength black tea from Sri Lanka with large Orange Pekoe leaves
I went to see the fortune teller Rosie Petulengro to ask her to read my tea leaves. Her brow furrowed as she stared into the cup and said, “I see…”
“I see… a swarm of bees.”
“A swarm of bees?”
“Yes, a swarm of bees.”
“Really, just a swarm of bees? That’s not very imaginative, really, is it? Can’t you do better than that? I mean, aren’t you supposed to be psychic?”
She furrowed her brow again. “OK, I see…” She swilled the leaves around the cup. “I see a big lot of freckles.”
“Freckles? What? You big fraud, you’re rubbish! You’re just looking at the cloudy residue at the bottom of the cup and thinking of something really obvious it resembles. Anybody can do that – see, give it here. ‘Oh look, you’ll be caught up in a sandstorm! Oh look, you’ll have a dusty bedroom! Oh look –‘”
“Well, what do you expect when you bring me a soggy little tea bag?” she said. “And Tesbury’s Own Brand at that. I’m a professional fortune teller. In fact, more than that, I’m an artist. I need tools. And space. And discounted fliers.”
I had to admit she had a point. So I went home and returned with some of our loose leaf Ceylon Dimbula, and the voluminous leaves at the bottom of the cup offered more fertile ground for her intuition. My future unfurled before her, and she unearthed secrets from the deepest recesses of my psyche, including, crucially, some overdue library books.
You see, there isn’t much to go on in a little tea bag. Most modern tea bags are made by a method called Cut Tear Curl, which produces small tea particles and a sharp, coarse taste. But loose leaf tea – the way it was in the old days – delivers a finer flavour.
Almost all of the teas we sell are loose leaf, but our Ceylon has some of the biggest leaves of the lot. It’s an ‘orange pekoe’, which doesn’t mean it tastes of orange; the name probably refers to the orange-y tips from where the whole dried leaves have broken. The result is a mellow, rounded flavour perfect for refreshment and long afternoons.
So now, in the three years that I have got left to live (Thanks Rosie!) I make sure the Ceylon is never far away when I’m looking for inspiration at the bottom of a cup. Chin chin!