Musings from the co-founder of Tielka.
There are a few things I really like at the moment. Actually, I quite like them pretty much all the time. Here they are:
Not having to make dinner
Last night we went to my parent’s place for dinner. As in true grey nomad style, they’re staying up here in Agnes Water for the winter and recently they relocated from their tiny caravan to a spacious residence at the back of the local Baptist church. Mum was pleased to have some space for guests and I was stoked to be invited for dinner. Not just because I quite enjoy their company, even while sitting through a game of Rummy Gummy (I won last night, by the way), but because I didn’t have to make dinner. That’s right. It didn’t just make my evening that much more fabulous. My whole day yesterday was filled with little pockets of joy each time I remembered with great delight that I didn’t have to think about making dinner. It’s like that little space which opened up every couple of hours that usually requires dinner-thinking-then-making-energy got replaced with a big fat ray of sunshine. There’s not much that will beat that.
I discovered Bertie a couple of months ago. One day when sitting in my back balcony over my usual morning cuppa and quiet time, I noticed a khaki-coloured cricket sitting on a palm frond near the back railing of our balcony. And then the next day he was there, and the day after and the day after that. In fact, for two weeks, I noticed he was there every single day without moving an inch. After two weeks had past, I put some energy into considering this little fella on my back palm frond and concluded he must be dead and his little spiky legs had fused themselves onto the frond. Not so. One day I actually got up and walked over to Bertie (as I later named him) and as I approached, he moved very slightly. He’s alive! I realised with a pinch of excitement. And ever since then, when I sit down with my cuppa, I glance over to Bertie’s frond and for some reason, seeing him still there warms my heart. It’s nice to drink a cuppa with a friend, especially a friend who’s quite happy to sit quietly without requiring anything of me while I drink tea in my little secret place.
It goes without saying, really. This morning after my fabulous evening of good company, not having to make dinner and winning a game of cards, I brewed another round of Persian Mint Chai and went out to check on Bertie. My new addition chai blend has turned out to be quite the dark horse. Only yesterday I discovered (after creating it last year and releasing it in May) that I like the second brew even better than the first. The brew becomes quite crisp and clean the second time around. The mint and cardamom still keep giving, which is a great quality to have – not unlike good ol’ Bertie and that feeling of not having to make dinner.
I’ve never been a fan of those sugary, mass produced, mass marketed bottles of iced tea that are buoyantly advertised on commercial TV with colourful dancing and an endlessly supply of energetic pizazz.
And while I’ll gratefully accept a half-glass at a party or friend’s place, it’s really not something I hope to be served at a cafe or restaurant.
This week, while enduring what seems like the gazillionth consecutive week of Queensland’s blissful, non-stop hot summer weather, waiting impatiently for the cooler weather to really enjoy a hot cup of tea, I decided to bite the bullet and finally brew some proper iced tea, homemade style.
Some of my favourite ingredients were close at hand - Jade Mist Green Tea (of course!), fresh mint from the herb and salad farm just out of town, a zingy lemon and some locally made honey. It’s hardly surprising, really - beautiful ingredients treated with the right care will almost always produce a beautiful final product. Enjoy!
2 teaspoons Jade Mist Green Tea
2 tablespoons honey
3 slices of lemon
200ml hot water (70 degrees)
2 sprigs of fresh mint, torn
1. Place Jade Mist Green Tea, honey, mint leaves and lemon slices in jug.
2. Add hot water (70 degrees).
3. Brew for 3 minutes (it can help to poke the lemon slices for a little extra zing).
4. Add ice to double water quantity.
5. Allow to stand until brew is icy cold.
6. Pour through strainer into cup.
7. Serve with ice.
I have to admit, I'm not really into footy. At the 2:30pm siren this arvo I was having a glass of champagne with the girls in the (strangely relaxed and tidy) aftermath of kid's birthday party. The poor parents had been up since 4am with a very excited 2-year-old but were still divine company in the midst of this mean feat.
At around 3:30pm we bailed with my darling Russian (now officially Aussie) husband waning in the national glory of the day and it was couch time for me. The thought arose that I should probably turn on the TV and do my Aussie duty by watching the game, but the three ominous TV remote controls looked at me threateningly with all those buttons and the idea was thrown into the too-hard-basket.
The clock struck very loudly at 5pm (I assume I slept through 4pm and 4:30pm) and in need of some mindless entertainment, I opened up my Facebook app. Immediately I was stuck by my apparent attendance of the Grand Final. My dreamy state made me check reality for a moment, but I quickly realised I hadn't been teleported to the MCG. I had simply once again become synonymous for a cup of (albeit truly awesome Fairtrade organic loose leaf) tea.
The fact that I had been mistaken for my favourite Jade Mist Green Tea made the error easily forgiveable. The even greater fact that my tea-loving friend brought her Jade Mist with her, assuming the available selection simply wouldn't cut it, made my day.
On refreshing my Facebook newsfeed, a particularly loaded pic made me realise I would have to take on the remote controls and watch what promised to be a photo finish.
It took me less than 5 minutes to work it out, but I managed to turn the bits and pieces on, locate the TV function AND find the right channel.
Feeling quite proud of myself, I even managed to conjure up some Aussie footy pride and when the siren blasted I too got all teary. I didn't have the urge to tackle anyone to the ground in the Aussie sporting embrace and when my hubby entered the room, I simply pretended my moist eyes were a little bit itchy.
"Who won?" he asked, "Sydney" - the short answer. He was chuffed, after predicting a Sydney win by one goal.
Me? Well I was chuffed too - the joy of watching someone win the Grand Final plus my favourite Jade Mist being served at the MCG? Win.
Indulge in Life.
If you know me well, you'll know I have a slight obsession with a certain Fairtrade organic loose leaf green tea that we stock. And if you've been spending time with me in the last week, you'll know by my somewhat emotional blubbering and excited outbursts that this particular Fairtrade organic green tea is going to be arriving any moment (I glance over at the door as I write, even though it's 10:07pm and there's no earthly chance of a delivery right now).
Yes, it's the tea love of my life, absent for the last month or so (run out completely due to high demand / high consumption in Tielka office) - the lovely Jade Mist Green Tea.
Why do I love it so? I imagine that silky smooth, young, simple and sweet mouth sensation. Then I relive examining the leaves as they brew and watching as the dark forest green leaves evolves into a bright jade green and that feeling of satisfaction that yes, it's still fresh and lovely. And I can't go past that how could it be that so much mouth-joy can be coupled with something healthy and wholesome...? Oh dear, now that sentence can be read in numerous ways... hmmm...
So now in a flutter of anticipation I drink an imaginary cup of Jade Mist Green Tea to the imminent arrival of it's genuine 2012 harvest counterpart.
Indulge in Life.
You'd think after 4 years being completely immersed in the tea world I would have converted the whole family to our awesome Fairtrade organic loose leaf tea. But no, it's yet to impact the taste buds of a particular older brother.
My sister-in-law (his gorgeous wife) was converted the second she sensed that fresh aroma ("I'm sick of stale old Fairtrade teabags imported from England or the US!"), my mother drinks at least two pots daily (Jade Mist in the morning, English Breakfast / Earl Royale in the afternoon), my coffee-drinking brother-in-law drinks it by the gallon if someone makes it for him, and my sister, who usually can't stand the sight or smell of tea or coffee from a mile away always makes sure she knows it's Tielka before accepting any tea (she loves it too). Oh, and dad will drink it too when mum brews a pot.
I put it down to this... I read some time ago that a percentage of the population can't detect certain tea flavours, and although I can't find that damn info again on google, I'm sure it exists and I'll take it as truth until I can ascertain otherwise or his taste buds develop to appreciate the mouth-drooling tea flavours I melt in almost every day of my life.
So if you ever come across the occasionally cheeky comments scattered on our Facebook page by a certain M.Prince, be rest assured it's someone who, while proud of his little sister's achievements in the Fairtrade tea business world, is yet to REALLY get what it's all about. And Matt, if you're reading this, I love you in spite of your tea appreciation deficiencies. (You know it's only a matter of time before we turn you around.)
Indulge in Life.
We just ran out of our 2011 Fairtrade organic Jade Mist Green Tea and the 2012 harvest hasn't arrived yet. I'm devastated and searching for a pillow to cry into. And although it won't be long before I'm reunited with the tea love of my life, there's an ever-present gaping hole that can only be filled by that sweet, light, silky feel that is Tielka's Fairtrade organic Jade Mist Green Tea.
BUT... 'tis a sad world without tea, so the tea void had to be filled by another, or two. It started with the Fairtrade organic Rose Moscato Green Tea and while my fixation was almost completely transferred to this newcomer, my darling husband brewed a pot of our Fairtrade organic English Breakfast and had me shocked once again why I'm not drinking the stuff from the moment I wake.
So let's drink to the "end", because when something good finishes, it doesn't take long for something (maybe) even better to take it's place.
Time for another trip to the Fairtrade organic tea cupboard to see what awaits!
Indulge in Life!