Ah! Florentines! Clotted cream biscuits! Proper English tea! Per kilo if you wish. And all a 3-minute walk from my favored hotel at Green Park. The tea is not quite like English Twinings or Brodies Irish breakfast, but the beautiful jars make up for the missing point or two.
The English have made a wise decision to hog all the best tea to themselves – and export the scraps swept from the floor of the tea processing factory to countries who know nothing of tea. My sister discovered that Twinings outside of the UK tastes of cardboard, whereas Twinings sold in the UK tastes delicious (same goes in my experience for Taylors of Harrogate). The answer to her inquiry was that “we export tea that caters for the international taste”. Yes indeed – it would, as long as those tastebuds never taste proper English tea served in the UK.
For the past 15 years I have imported all my tea from Holland, Malaysia, and the UK, and when possible, from Nepal as well. But nothing beats the experience of stepping into the Twinings tea shop or the Fortnum & Mason paradise in London. Fortunately my monthly visits to London allow to uphold the sense of luxury – and my tea stock.