Having your best cuppa

A nice cup of tea (and a sit down). A Denby te...

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Are you partial to a good cup of tea?

In a mere few weeks after my family moved to England, I drew a stunning personal conclusion: the Brits have the best tea in the world! That may not really be true–after all, I’m no tea expert–but the tea routinely available there tickled my taste buds like tea had never done before. I enjoyed British tea so much that my morning hot drink switched from coffee with cream to tea with milk and sugar.

Naturally, I had my fave brand–Sainsbury’s Gold Label premium (in tea bags), available at stores in the Sainsbury supermarket chain. Whether brewed in the morning in a single cup, or in a pot while chatting with a friend in late afternoon, this gentle, full-bodied tea became my hot drink of choice.

When I returned to California, I longed for this tea. I did bring a few boxes with me, but once they ran out, my poor friends had to put up with my constant expressions of yearning. As luck had it, some good friends wound up going to England soon after my supply was exhausted. These dear people cheerfully moseyed over to Sainsbury’s and bought that tea for me. Eventually, I wound up imposing on other good friends to grace their suitcases with two 80-bag boxes of Sainsbury’s Gold Label, too, whenever they came home from England’s shores.

I have to admit I started feeling like a beggar. Then, an American friend, a former ex-pat who’d lived in England, too, clued me into the glorious fact that I could get good tea at a nearby British food store. Nearby British food store? I had no idea such a place existed. I’d been to Indian food stores for garam masala and basmati rice, various Asian stores for many kinds of Asian foods, and Italian delis and markets, but I’d never even suspected there were British food stores.

So, if you’d like to try some “authentic” British tea, see if you can find a British food store near you. Here’s the one I go to. It’s fun not only to buy tea, but to look around and see all the British products. Some of my favorites: cheese and potato pies, clotted cream, Baxter’s Carrot and Coriander Soup (which the management specially ordered for me), real Cadbury’s chocolate (made in Britain, not the Cadbury’s manufactured in the U.S.A., which by U.S. law must have different proportions of ingredients), McVitties digestive biscuits (cookies, actually), and Red Label Tea. While it’s true I can’t get my Sainsbury’s Gold Label, the Red Label is a good second choice. (I did check to see if I could order from Sainsbury’s on line, but — boo hoo — they aren’t set up to ship international. Woe is me for being so hung up on a supermarket brand.)

There are also tons of places you can order British food products on line. Here are a couple you can explore.

At chowhound.com and www.shop.britishgoodsonline.com

If you surf around, I’m sure you’ll find others. Good luck, and—

Enjoy that great cuppa tea!

Bon voyage,

Rita Elizabeth


About RitaElizabeth

I'm a recently widowed wife and mother who loves to use ideas and experiences from travel to enrich my family's life at home. I blog to share ideas with you and to hear your ideas and comments.
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2 Responses to Having your best cuppa

  1. simplydiane says:

    I am a big coffee drinker, but I love tea too! I am going to try the British tea and, who knows, maybe I can make coffee a part of my past. Love your blog! Diane

    • Thanks, Diane! Love your blog, too!

      I also love coffee, and actually, I’m now back to coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. Take a look at my previous post on “Entertaining with the small French press.” As a busy mom like you are, I’ve found small French presses to be a big help serving coffee. They help me accommodate people’s varying tasts for “leaded,”/decaf/flavored/unflavored coffee when I have guests to a special dinner.

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