Designer tea

Now that we have had 10 years of coffee houses springing up in every conceivable space, the ‘cup of tea’ has nearly been consigned to history. Indeed the phrase ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ seems to be taken by many to read as, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee?’ Except for a certain generation where the ‘cuppa’ still reigns supreme, most people are now devoted coffee consumers.

Serious devotees of the ‘cuppa tea’ will get through 10-15 cups per day, seven days per week, with no obvious side effects. If you would like to open your palate to some new experiences I suggest having a long look at a product range called Tea Forte. The products are exclusively distributed by a company in Tuam and their website is www.teaforte.ie Tea Forte is available worldwide and served in 1,500 of the world’s top five-star hotels. The list of places that serve it reads like a catalogue of the world’s very finest hotels — Ritz Carltons, Four Seasons, Wynn Las Vegas, Pebble Beach resort, etc. These products simply ooze quality and sleekness. The presentation of every item they sell is quite simply the best I have ever seen, from individual silk wrapped tea infusers (tea bags ) to boxed sets of different flavours, to the fabulous presentation gift sets, like the tea duet gift box. They are not cheap but even in these recessionary times they represent a great way to spend money for a present that will be different and delicious.

Everything has to be purchased through the website as the Tuam location is for trade only. Single tea infusers make two cups of tea minimum, indeed for the way I like my tea I always get three cups. They cost approximately €1 each. The gift sets with really different cups, tea pots, trays, etc, cost between €30 and €65. Some of the more unusual teas available are Chamomile Tisane, Belgian Mint, Coco Truffle, White Ginger Pear, China Gunpowder, and Gogi Tea, plus a selection of handcrafted rare teas. I tasted several and they were all delicious, however the product is as much about the presentation/ceremony as the taste — definitely an alternative to your latte or cappuccino. See www.teaforte.ie Speaking about cappuccino, I predicted some time ago that we would see the emergence of the €1 cappuccino; there is now a large sign in Munroe’s new pizza take away in Middle Street advertising Bewley’s freshly ground cappuccino to take away for €1. If you are on the run and just want a coffee to go it’s a great choice to have out there.

Finally a reader has contacted me to highlight the problem with increasingly small lettering on food labelling. I could not agree more and there have been many times when I was unable to read the tiny print even with my new glasses. It’s disgraceful and I wonder if any other reader knows whether there is legislation in this regard? If so please contact me at [email protected]. Keep the names rolling in for addition to our eating out club that I have mentioned a few times.

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