As I started my tea education and my more structured engagement in the tea community in Italy, I had a set of tea companies which I was very passionate about. This blog post will walk down memory lane and at the same time will show the dramatic transition I underwent over the past 12 months moving from the European tea world to the Asian Tea world.
Tea life in Italy always has been a mix for me between tea salons, tea shops, local finds and the online tea world. My favorite local tea place in Rome has been Babbington’s, a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a high quality cup of tea or buy some nice loose leaf to take home. To this day I appreciate how patiently the staff at this tea room answered my questions and played along with my role play I did for my tea studies.
Since Rome is a place for coffee, a lot of my tea would come via package to my apartment ordered online. I would drive the porter of our apartment complex crazy with the frequent arrivals of tea packages. I very much enjoyed the Twinings Tea Club, receiving a new high quality, unique tea once a month and expanding my knowledge of teas. Twinings became my go-to company with a nice loose leaf tea collection.
Tip: It is always easier to select and buy tea in a physical tea store where you can feel, smell and taste the tea. It is more difficult online. I suggest to pick a trusted company with great customer reviews. Buy a small quantity, taste the tea and see if you like it. Then you can expand and shop for other types of teas.
I shortly thereafter discovered Mariage Freres and the amazing world of rare and amazing tasting teas. Packages from Paris to Rome would arrive within days and made me very happy in my discovery of the endless world of tea. It also gave me the opportunity to explore many different countries and their unique teas. I also found Canton Tea a great, trustworthy tea company with high quality teas. Tea Box is a vibrant and innovative company with a focus on Indian teas.
While visiting my parents in Berlin I developed a passion for the Berlin tea industry. One year I challenged my family to find the top 10 Chinese green teas in Berlin and to my surprise they found 9 out of 10 of the teas. My favorite tea places in Berlin are Paper & Tea and Tea Gschwender. I just love the friendly staff and the huge variety of premium high quality tea. On a recent visit to Berlin this year I was surprised to learn that I was the first customer in Berlin to purchase the 2017 First Flush Darjeeling (so called Flugtee) which just arrived via Airplane from India (PS. A Soom Darjeeling – highly recommended).
Travelling around Europe and finding tea takes a bit of effort as you need to know where these stores are. Of course it has been a highlight to visit the main Twinings store in London back in 2014 and I felt right at home.
In my next blog post I will share with you how dramatically my tea buying experience has changed while living in Myanmar.