Friday, 20 September 2013

The Destruction of the Tea

Today I am making a stand. I need to rid myself of a terrible scourge that lurks in my kitchen. They lurk in the cupboard like modern day Scyllas and Charybdises (Charybdisai?), presenting a dire fate for any foolish traveller who forsakes the gleaming well-lit safety of the refrigerator wherein the real coffee resides, choosing instead to plumb the depths to seek an enjoyable beverage. I speak of the blight that is herbal tea, specifically fruit teas.

It is worth noting at this juncture that I don't hate all herbal teas.  I am merely venting my spleen (which has not been emptied for so long, it’s about to go all Dave’s Syndrome on stuff ) about one or two species of the genus thea herborum.  Or hippy tea.

We’ve all been there.  You really fancy a hot drink, but you remember you’ve already had half a dozen espressos and you suspect your heartbeat shouldn’t be doing that bippity boppity.....bang thing.

So, just like that scene in Flash Gordon, where the fella off Blue Peter has a go at the big old tree stump on the planet Arboria, you gently insert your mitt into the cupboard, snaking gingerly past the Horlicks (phew, that was close!) and various packets of spiced latte mix, drinking fudge* and other delicious treats until you light upon a fruit infusion.

Ah ha!  A fruit infusion with zero caffeine!  Fantastic.  You crack open the overly decorated box – usually incorporating some “poetry” or how the <insert indigenous people here> used to use it for something or other - revealing about 15 individually paper-wrapped infusion bags. 

While you wait for the kettle to boil you have all the time in the world to remove the packaging, pop the bag (sometimes a paperish one unless you have the expensive ones which are made of muslin) into your mug and wrap the bit of string with the pointless tab on the end around the handle. 

According to the destructions, you should leave it to steep for 5 minutes, but you’ve tangled the string and pointless tab around the handle so it’d be a faff to unwrap.  Drinking round the bag it is, then.

You pick up the mug and inhale deeply.  My goodness! It smells amazing! There’s a party up my nose and everyone’s invited!  And with no calories, you say, oh nutritional information on the box? Amazing! Why do people bother with drinking fudge when you can have something as glorious as this?

Then you take the first sip of the fruit infusion.  Which henceforth shall be called the mug of Perpetual Steaming Disappointment.

What kind of witchcraft is this? What kind of necromancer creates something that promises so much, but leaves you sucking on the beverage equivalent of an Enya or Dido cd? And why did I buy so many of them?  For that brightly patterned box is not alone.  Oooooooh no. I’ve bought a metric f*ck ton of the bastards.

It transpires that herbal teas, or at least the purchasing of herbal teas, appear to be more addictive than the caffeine I ingest on a regular basis. 

I am compelled, when on my travels with work or simply on holiday, to pop into a grocery store somewhere in the world and peruse the bewildering selection of teas available for purchase.  I must then buy something with nice decorations on the box and some text that is presumably some poetry or an explanation of how the <insert indigenous people here> used to use it for something or other. 

This is the explanation for the Hei├če Leibe  tea I once bought in Berlin.   Yes, the name was the main reason why I bought it.

For the most part, the boxes probably taste better than the contents, but this doesn’t stop me from buying more of the blessed things. 

What is wrong with me?

My compulsion to purchase bags of drinking dust has taken a darker turn.  My addiction has led me on to darker roads and the crueller, harder and generally more evil teas.

This terrifying subspecies of  herbal tea is more akin to the Sirens** who caused many a man to meet his demise on the pointy rocks of reality via the medium of muzak.  These evil temptress teas don’t just bibble on about general health goodness, but boast wildly about the literally incredible benefits and amazing results that you can expect if you imbibe said tea on a regular basis. 

My cupboard is full of “detox und wellness” from Germany,  “drainage et elimination” from France, “sem gordura” from Portugal, “dimagrante” from Italy and a million other implied good for you infusions from all over Europe and beyond.  All of which do nothing, apart from tasting of stale farts and clog up valuable cupboard space.

And I fall for this shit every time.  Every time!

So today is the start of a new day.  Today I eliminate every single pointless useless teabag that currently inhabiting my kitchen.  I will no longer buy shitty favourless teabags, regardless of the comic value of their names.  I WILL NO LONGER purchase smoke and mirror wellness teas from snake oil vendors or regular grocery stores.

I will henceforth only buy herbal teas that actually taste good like Mr Scruff’s divine offerings, that actually sort of do what they claim (like the ones that say this might make your throat feel a little less crappy), or at the very least taste of something.

And I ask Mr Grumpy Bear to remind me of this next time I am somewhat addled by the heat of a glorious vacation and I am staring, wild-eyed and slavering at the herbal tea section of the supermercado…..

*This does exist by the way.  It is awesome. You can buy it and everything!
**thank Christ the Sirens could sing. They’d need some form of talent to counteract their women crossed with a duck look, which I can’t imagine would appeal to too many men.  Although if you’ve thought of it there’s bound to be some sort of horrible pr0n of it out there on the internets. Eur.

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