I have not had much time for tea blogging or indeed for tea itself over the last weekend, largely due to a surfeit of packing (nearly as bad as a surfeit of palfreys, as you will know if you remember your 1066 And All That). House-moving is imminent, and of course I am going to give careful consideration to the placement of my tea collection. Due to limitations of space at the moment it seems likely that my collection of antique tea-cup-and-saucer sets will have to remain packed in boxes in the shed… which is a pity but the other option would be to display them on open shelves and risk having Beren (the kitty) use them to test the workings of gravity (he likes pushing small objects off things when restless or feeling hard done by, a most effective form of blackmail which usually sees either me, my husband, or both of us, leap to do his bidding).
At any rate, I did enjoy a decent cuppa this morning (I felt terribly British, as I had toast and marmalade and a cup of tea with milk) – a small pot of Larsen & Thompson Assam from the Mazbat estate. This is a single-estate tea which I purchased from the Wine and Cheese Providore in Manuka, a very nice little place with a variety of gourmet goodies, which is an offshoot of the ever-expanding Mecca Bah which seems to be intent on taking over the entirety of Manuka Terrace. (Not that I am complaining, as they do very delicious food, and I was of course very pleased to see that the W&CP sells more than just wine and cheese, neither of those things being a particular weakness of mine.)
Unfortunately Google doesn’t seem able to provide me with a website solely devoted to Larsen & Thompson as a company, however a search for their teas does return this page, for The Alderman Providore, who apparently stock quite range of Larsen & Thompson stuff. (An Australian site, even better… must remember these guys…) They don’t seem to stock the Mazbat Assam, but they do have the Risheehat First-Flush Darjeeling which I have also purchased from the W&CP and absolutely adore.
The Mazbat Assam is a really good strong cup of tea, a beautiful deep red colour and a great malty flavour. It’s best on its own (but it also takes milk quite well, and a bit of sugar would possibly go nicely too). The Risheehat is quite different, although it also has a beautiful rich colour, but the aroma and flavour is much fresher and lighter than the Mazbat Assam, and a bit sweeter too. “Fully fired and toasty, round & mature, fruity and with a prominent honeyed nose and a hint of muscatel”, the blurb at Alderman tells me – I will have to go off an have a cup this afternoon when I get home from work and see if I can identify those flavours… Gee, it’s a hard life…
On another note, my thoughtful husband has just pointed out this article to me, about a possible increase in the price of a cup of tea. The horror!