Well I have to say that I’m extremely disappointed in the entire tea industry. After their marvelous attempt at creating a novel range of flavoured teas, they seem to have let their standards slip. At least that is my view of the matter and I’ll tell you why.
Liptons are still number one in my tea books for their innovation and wonderful effort. Until recently, sharing that top shelf on my own little tea podium was Twinings. Now if you want a delicious refreshing strong cuppa, try Twinings Irish Breakfast, very attractive in its Irish emerald green box. Or, if you’re are after something a little more adventurous with a dash of the orient, try Ceylon Broken Orange Pekoe, or the classic Earl Grey? Do not, under any circumstances try Twinings Lapsang Souchong Tea or, I suspect, Lapsang Souchong Tea made by any other brand.
I was standing in the tea aisle of my local Woolies before a bewildering array tea in every style imaginable. Feeling somewhat euphoric after my recent tea success, I was searching out some other little pearl to try on those relaxing evenings in. Well, I spied Twinings Lapsang Souchong in its fine little purple wrapper and I thought to myself, why not? Well, with the benefit of hindsight I can now answer myself and tell myself in great detail “why not”.
Gad zooks, man! The stuff is Putrid! Absolutely vile. My esteemed friend and house-mate Dan spun me a yarn of hiking for days in moist socks and then drying them out over a smoky fire and then squeezing the murky fluid into a pot and heating it up. I suspect that Dan knew somebody who worked for Twinings, it would not surprise me in the least if it was the case that Twinings hired young men and women of the hiking persuasion to tramp about their factory floor in moist socks before they were carted off to the smoker (the socks I mean, not the men and women of a hiking persuasion).
Now, the only thing I know about ‘Enterprise’ is that it’s the best Star Trek series they made. But even a pseudo-trekkie knows that for something to be on the shelves at Woolworths there must be somebody out there willing to part with good money for it.
I’m not calling you weird if you like that liquefied smoky toe-jam, nor do I want to bring the fine name of Twinings into disrepute merely because I prefer my tea to taste like cookies and cream instead of a cross between an ashtray and a worn boot. The only thing I wish to say is that the packet should come with some sort of warning. People who are browsing the shelves for something refreshing to have with their lamington after a hard day at the office should not be able to put a packet of Lapsang Souchong into their trolley with being completely aware of the consequences of dunking those little babies in hot water.
The packet itself reads: The celebrated black tea with a distinctive smoky flavour from the Fujian province of China. Here are some suggestions I had for the twinings people to add, in the interest of public safety:
– Just the thing for when your smoking unwashed hiking friend: a) is out of town; or b) doesn’t want you to lick his feet.
– Warning: This product is best tasted by people whose senses of smell and taste are severely impaired.
– Not today Sunny-Jim, why don’t you tuck into that Russian Caravan Tea on the next shelf down?
– The original Billy Tea (just like when you accidentally knock the billy over into the fire and then manage to scoop everything back in with a bit of ash too).
Apologies for my cynicism