I love the city of Bath – if you’ve never been before, it’s one of the nicest cities in England. I visited a couple of years ago (was it really that long ago?) with my family, and one of the places we stopped at was the Jane Austen Museum. It is such a delightful place, with staff dressed in period clothing, taking you around the tour with lots of information and insight into Jane Austen’s life and works.
My favourite part however, was the regency tearooms at the top of the building. All fitted out in Georgian style tableware, with the waitresses dressed in Georgian maids clothes, a selection of cakes and a large array of teas (see the menu here). They do what looked like amazing afternoon teas, and other great food – I had a sandwich (not sure how regency that was) and a pot of Jane Austen Blend tea. I felt very like I had stepped back in time, pouring my tea through the strainer and admiring the surroundings. I felt the need to pick up a bag of the Jane Austen Blend tea from the gift shop, to remind me of that moment.
I find themed gifts like this particularly exciting, as it really seems to capture the essence of a particular place or story. I thought that it was such a sweet idea, and could just imagine the great woman herself sitting down to write while sipping on a cup of tea. The packaging is simple, but I enjoyed the little touches like the seal on the opening, the pleasant golden colour, and the pretty label.
This tea is loose leaf black china tea, which you would drink without milk. I love loose leaf tea, as the process of brewing it seems more involved, and can be very meditative – which seems like the way Jane herself would have brewed it.
I have an adorable little tea strainer – basically a mini sieve – that I used to steep this tea in, I only needed a small spoonful because I was brewing such a small cup. In other circumstances I would brew it in a large tea pot with the leaves freely brewing, and then pour it over a strainer into a tea cup, like they did at the tearooms.
Brewing tea is such an emotive experience; maybe I’m just incredibly British, or I like to take pleasure in the small things. The smell that it gives off is really rich yet fresh, and very tea-like, making me flashback to the tearooms, but also giving me images of large Georgian houses and rose gardens, and rolling meadows and trickling streams.
The colour is beautiful – a bright amber, light and golden looking. It looks like the perfect cup of tea – and it also tasted like it too. The flavour was quite bitter, but light and fresh, with a richness that gave a pleasant feeling to your palette. The taste held summer and sunshine on my tongue, bringing a lift to my spirits like any good cup of tea does, and if I closed my eyes I believed I was sat outside on a warm day with a cool breeze blowing the scent of roses towards me, with the sound of birds ringing in my ears.
Beautiful lace and a dainty floral print compliment the tea, adding a regency feel to this moment. The ring I’m wearing is what I call my Jane Austen ring, because it’s like one that she used to own, I thought it contributed a pretty detail, and it’s one of my favourite rings.
Tea for me, is often about moments; the solitary experience of enjoying life or a good book, the sharing of ideas with a companion, or a gathering of family and friends spreading their love. I wanted to share this one with you, hoping to inspire similar enjoyable moments for you too.