The success of my stall of English things in Italy recently inspired me to contact a Newcastle tea company, because amongst all the bone china, horse brasses, marmalade and beer mats, I’ve discovered that tea is a best seller. What would be better than selling exclusive Newcastle tea to my devoted customers in Italy?
A couple of days ago I met the two charming Quilliam brothers who run a thriving local tea shop and sell tea. As they’re lovers of Italy and all things Italian, it wasn’t difficult to convince them that I might be able to sell their tea at the next festival on May 1st.
Of course it won’t be plain sailing. For a start, they only sell loose leaf tea, which they were at pains to explain is the only way to fully appreciate the flavour, using proper leaves instead of powder. I’ll have to be coached in the ritual of tea, making it in a glass pot, then when the colour is right, decanting it into an ordinary tea pot so that it doesn’t go on brewing and become bitter. (Then of course I’ll have to familiarise myself with some obscure Italian vocabulary that goes with this tea ceremony.) After all, they are perfectly prepared to go through daily rituals of coffee making in Italy, so why not learn about tea?
We agreed to meet again when we’ve worked out the next step. It looks as if I might be driving a consignment of tea to Italy at the end of the month.