Today, I finally took the plunge and bought some real tea. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but those tea shops seem so daunting, and tea drinking itself has become so seeped in hipster elitism and nanna-chic snobbery that I was sure I would somehow do it wrong.
I approached the darkened corner of the shopping mall with trepidation. Teapots and teacups and saucers towered over me in unstable stacks. There were little white cups littered all over the tables, filled with fragrant clumps of shrivelled leaves. At the moment I’m obsessed with edible flowers, roses and violets especially. I sniffed anything containing visible petals. No violet was forthcoming, however, I did discover a tea made entirely of rosebuds. It was clear that I needed this tea.
But I didn’t know exactly how to go about obtaining it. There was no rhyme or reason to the shop’s layout. Did I take this box that was on display? Or did I ask for a handful to be scooped out of the drawers behind the counter? Was there a correct way to drink this particular tea? If I did it wrong would tea drinkers of the world sense my mistake and secretly mock me? And how much does this stuff cost anyway?
So I loitered in the shadowy corners for a while, sniffing things and pretending I knew what I was doing, while trying not to make eye contact with anyone. Eventually I was spotted by a suspicious shop assistant. I managed to gracelessly articulate to her what I wanted. Then she asked me if I needed an infuser. I assumed I probably did, so she talked me into buying some kind of miniature UFO on a string. After that, she asked if I needed a container for my tea. I realised she had sensed my weakness. She was going to keep suggesting things I needed until I had bought everything in the store. I assured her, quite confidently, that I indeed had a container.
So I paid for my tea and fled. I know how the store works now, so I can buy more tea. And I plan to, because this rose tea is fantastic, and my weird little infuser thing is quite satisfying to splosh up and down.
The only problem is, I haven’t got any containers to keep the damn stuff in.