On Christmas Eve I met somebody in the Kingsgate I hadn’t seen for many years. He and I attended a local drama class together, coming up on 20 years ago. We had a lot of fun, improvising and rolling round the floor and whatnot. I was already a mature wumman, and he but a strip of a lad. ‘Let’s do it all again, Helen,’ he said. If only! But what’s he doing now? Only appearing on prime time television!
Derek and his partner had a stall outside M&S and were catching glazed Christmas shoppers on the way by. He told me they are growing tea in Scotland – in Scotland? and have meantime set up their stall as the Wee Tea Company. He gave me a couple of packets of beautifully boxed tea – Ginger Chai and Minty Green – and told me to get in touch.
That was a nice wee interlude in the last-minute rush but it was only yesterday I got round to tasting the tea. It was a cold, windy night and I opened the Ginger Chai for a long slow warmer. Yes, it did the trick. The hot water on the needly leaves conjures a clear, orange-tan coloured brew; and as I don’t have a tea strainer (note to self: hurry up and buy one), you can see a little needle of tealeaf lurking at the bottom of the cup. Not in a bad way. Barely enough to merit a reading of the tealeaves. I hate it when your cuppa is full of soggy sludge at the bottom, but the Ginger Chai dregs were far too elegant to be dreg-like.
The scent of the Ginger Chai was warm-to-floral; the taste was spicy-gingery, with a bit of a floral aftertaste, and leaving a nice tingle on the tongue. I liked it a lot and will serve it to friends with some nice buttery shortbread. Haven’t tasted the Minty Green yet, will let you know when I do. Growing tea in Scotland? Who’d have thought it. But I suppose China’s mountain climate is also pretty challenging at times. Maybe the Chinese are as suspicious of Scottish-grown tea as we are of Scotch Whisky distilled in places like Japan. But hey, you’ve got to pay attention to the food miles! Good luck to you, Derek, in your enterprise.