TeaGuide: Reviews and Ramblings

June 7, 2013

Ramblings: Recent travels with tea

It’s been a while since this blog has seen a new post, and yes, I missed keeping up with it. There was a good reason, tho’: I’ve been traveling without a dedicated computer.

I didn’t start out computerless. When I first arrived in Bucuresti, Romania for my annual visit, I had my trusty netbook with me. Unfortunately, while browsing the web at a neighbourhood restaurant with wifi, my Vipre security software failed me. When I got back to our apartment and turned on the netbook to recharge the battery I discovered that the operating system was fried, most of my files were corrupted, and I was getting some really scary error messages. That must have been some big bad nasty that attacked my poor little ‘puter. And from that point on I had only intermittent ‘net access at friends’ homes.

Now here I am back home in the USA, very annoyed that we’ve been paying for the Vipre software and and it failed me when I really needed it. Oh well. Maybe it’s time to get a new netbook — or upgrade to some other ‘net appliance.

Other than that, the trip started out well … and not so well. The good news? I met up with a friend for tea my first full day there — tho’ sort of half asleep from jet lag. And then the bad news: I discovered that I had forgotten my camera. So I don’t have any photos of the first tea room I visited in Bucuresti. Bummer, but I still enjoyed going there — and I do have a couple of shots taken by my friend.

la-un-ceai1

At La un ceai in Bucuresti, Romania. Photo courtesy of Andreea Heroiu.

La un ceai — To a Tea — like many other tea rooms in Bucuresti is housed in a former villa.  I met my friend at beautiful Gradina Cismigiu, and then it was a short walk through winding side streets of old apartments and houses to get to the tea room. There we found several charming, peaceful rooms, along with an outdoor terrace, and chose a table in the main salon.

The tea menu was pretty much what it is in most Romanian tea rooms: lots of flavoured teas and tisanes with a few unadulterated teas sprinkled in. Romanians definitely prefer teas with added flavours, so it’s really no surprise. I did find a tea that I don’t see very often, a Darjeeling from the Gielle garden. I’m guessing it was a second flush. It certainly had that distinctive muscat taste and aroma, just not as fresh as I would have liked it. Still it was quite pleasant.

I should explain that Romanian tea rooms generally serve their teas in tea-for-one pots, with the loose leaves tucked into a disposable tea sac. The pot part of the T-F-O is already filled with hot water when it arrives at the table, so I’ve learned to order green or white tea as the water isn’t hot enough to properly infuse an oolong much less a black tea. I thought I’d at least try the Darjeeling, which normally requires lower-temperature water than most black teas. It was a relatively successful choice given the options — ‘tho I would have preferred the water to be hotter.

Tea was served with small gingery cookies. The room was comfortable and cool on this warm day. The company was delightful. And then … We had each ordered a glass of citronada to complement the tea. This is a beverage I very much like when I’m in Romania: it’s a combination of lemonade and orange juice, tho’ occasionally some lime juice or grapefruit juice is mixed in. It’s a terrific thirst quencher. But apparently somebody forgot the sweetener … and when I took my first sip, it was so tart that I nearly choked. Seriously. I think I scared my poor friend with my red-faced coughing fit. Fortunately it finally passed, although I could barely speak for several minutes. Well, maybe that’s a good thing ;-).

Oh, and it led me to discover that the bathroom is nice and clean :-).

Altogether La un ceai is a pleasant place to spend time with a friend, which is a large part of what going out for tea is all about. So I will very likely visit them again during my next year’s trip to Bucuresti. I’ll just be sure not to order the citronada …

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All content Copyright 2013 JP Badarau; all rights reserved.

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