A Tea-cap.

So, those of you who have followed me from the very beginning will know that this blog all started with a tea everyday, and usually a little something was said about the teas.  This hasn’t really been happening in a while, but I just want you to know that I have not abandoned tea, far from it in fact.  This is a little round up, a tea-cap if you will, of all the teas currently doing the rounds in my cup.  Some have been with me a long time, some are much newer, some are good, some less so. But here you go!

The Golden Chariot tea above is not very good quality tea at all, hence it costing so little, but I bought it because I really love the packaging!

I think that I am a bit obsessed with Yunnan Teas.  This one from 5 o’clock, a smallish shop in Warsaw is a good everyday Green tea, but is nothing out of the ordinary.

I bought this Mate in Berlin for 1Euro.  It is a roasted variety and is quite pleasant, being much smoother and less bitter on the palate than a normal Mate, but it lacks the magic punch and stimulation of the unroasted variety.

This tea, which is not strictly ‘mine’, is delicate and sweet, with the smoothness of the Sencha balanced well with flower blossoms.

A good quality and clear variety of Sencha tea from China.

Definitely just for night-time!

I’ve not tried this yet, and it is again not strictly mine, but I will let you know when / if I get my hands on it!

A standard Green Tea, but in a Cape Verde packet.

This is probably my most coveted tea, from Estonia I have been carrying this around since February.  It is excellent, you can steep the leaves several times and it is delicate yet nourishing. If you happen to leave it a little long the Ginseng, in which the Oolong has been rolled, will start to create an odd, but not unpleasant, sweetness.

I love Mate, ever since I found it tucked away in a little farm shop in the middle of nowhere in England  when i was about 16.  This one is good, actually quite delicate in flavour, but it definitely does the job!

Last, but by no means least, is my Yunnan Green Oolong.  I brought this with me when I started my trip and it has been perfect every time.  I am running extremely low on it now so will only drink it occasionally.  It is perfect for lifting the spirits and refreshing the soul.  This tea is a life saver!

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Day 24, Tallinn, February 2nd 2012

Tea 24:  Qi Pao Tea, from CHADO tea shop, old town Tallinn.

Today had another gloriously sunshiny morning.  But yet again, the coldest day so far, I think -20 was the high today….  I left the apartment around mid-day and made for the old town again.  On my way I wandered around some of the side streets, slightly off of the beaten track and was treated to various sights of old tumble-down, but beautiful wooden and brick buildings, literally next door to huge, modern glass structures, such as the Radisson Blu hotel, and the Sokos.  The business hotels basically.  The sunlight was beautiful in these patches though, glinting off of windows and through the broken windows of the older buildings.  I carried on towards the old town, and stopped off in the little Tammsaare park again.  Today I noticed there were now quite a few ice sculptures that I am fairly sure were not there yesterday, a hedgehog, a wolf, an eagle, a knife and fork…. All sorts of things, glinting away in the low lying sunshine.

A few photographs later, and I was in the old town.  I headed straight for the tea shop I had spied yesterday.  What an amazing little tea shop, loads of excellent quality teas from all over the place.  I stood and chatted to the shop keeper and her sister for ages about tea and traveling and all things inbetween.  They were lovely people, very friendly, warm and inviting, and passionate about tea!  It is really an amazing place, called Chado it is situated on Vana-Viru, a right turn directly after the main entrance bit of the old town.  I chatted for a while and bought a cup of Qi Pao tea to go, as well as a small packet of Ginseng Oolong and a small sample of a mystery Pu Er tea they had gotten hold of, it is twelve years old, and hopefully will be amazing!  I’ve not tasted either of these two yet, but as soon as I do you will be the first to know!  I think I need to save the mystery tea for a proper occasion, with all the gear to get a proper idea of it.  If you are in this part of town, and let’s face it, who doesn’t go to old town Tallinn, make sure to give this shop a look!  There’s also a link to their website at the bottom of this page.

I took my hot cup of Qi Pao into the cold outside and began to drink.  It was really good, smooth and refreshing, with a great tannin level to make it just right in the cold air.  I’ve kept these leaves too for another few brewings.  I wandered around the old cobbled streets a while longer, trying to keep the cold out; the remnants of my tea actually froze in the cup, and the lid also froze to the cardboard!  Eventually the cold started to freeze me again and hunger started to creep in, so I decided to try and find the Krug Inn, a place recommended to me by my host Ingrid.  After a little search I found it hidden on the corner of the town hall building, a white washed building that looks like a church.  Inside is dark and extremely medieval, the only light supplied through the small translucent windows and a few candles dotted about.  The waitress was dressed to the nines in a red medieval frock and a service style to match.  She is funny and brilliant, but in a completely abrupt, some would say rude, manner.  It’s all part of the act though and if you take it in your stride you will only enjoy it!  They serve two things, Elk soup and pies, though various types of pie.  I had a steaming, hot, rich and delicious bowl of Elk soup, with a sweet, tasty carrot pie.  The food is really good, the perfect food for the cold.  If you make it there be prepared to drink from the bowl and mop up with your pie, or make sure you have packed your spoon…

After that I decided that I didn’t want to have too much time out in the freezing cold, so I made for the Museum of Occupation.  This charts basically the last century when the country of Estonia has changed hands basically three times, first the Soviet Occupation came, followed by the Nazi Germany invasion and occupation, followed once more by the Soviets taking Estonia back from the Germans.  The museum is small but has numerous objects from the whole era, as well as a number of documentary videos charting the whole process from initial occupation, through deportations, exploitations, to sovereignty and finally full independence at the fall of the Soviet Union.  If you visit here, which you really should to get a true appreciation of what the estonian people have gone through, then give it time and watch through the various documentaries, it is really enlightening and moving.  And entrance is only 2 Euros, so well worth it!  I then headed home, the snow had started to fall again and it was still bitingly cold.  I read it is only going to get worse in the coming days, and my next stop, Tartu, over the weekend, is even colder…

                       

                        CHADO