Friday, 28 December 2018

on finding a good cuppa in norwich: episode 1

exhibit a: the kind of horrific cup of tea that haunts my dreams. I long to forget.

Over the Christmas holidays I've spent a lot of time thinking about what it is that I want from university, and how best to go about making sure I make the most of the experience. During this thinking I came to an astounding conclusion: I simply must spend the next three years on a quest to seek out the best brew Norwich can offer me. The tea to end all teas, the strongest steaming mug of nectar to ever grace my lips.

I drink a lot of tea and like to think my years of experience mean my tastebuds are pretty attuned to what's hot and what's not in tea-terms. Upon entering my little student room in halls you are almost immediately greeted by a beautiful sight: a selection of teas, stacked and organised in an aesthetically pleasing pyramid. This is my pride and joy, my stash, my lifeblood.

The selection consists of as follows:

1. a jumbo box of Yorkshire tea bags, purchased from the motherland: Farmfoods. There is also a jumbo pack of Fruit Shoots stashed beneath my desk but we won't talk about that. Side note here, Yorkshire tea is the best tea for excessive daily drinking. It catches you in your throat immediately causing you to sigh with pleasure after the first gulp. There is no arguing about this fact: Yorkshire tea is simply the best tea.

2. an old biscuit tin which houses my 'extra strong' Twinings everyday brew. This is just a back-up, though a very important back-up nonetheless, for when my Yorkshire tea stash inevitably depletes into nothingness, just crumby teabag residue left behind when I've ploughed through what is supposed to last the average family months.

3. a very small box of posh tea for special occasions (at uni, special occasions are: when I'm feeling sad/anxious/hormonal/stressed and want to treat myself to a fancy cuppa). The posh tea in question is Newby English breakfast blend. You know these babies are posh for two reasons. 1: you get a meagre 15 in one pack. Daylight robbery. 2: 'teabags' has been translated as 'silken pyramids'. When these run out I'll have to consult my student loan to see if I can treat myself to a box of Teapigs - another excellent choice when one is after a posh tea.

4. a box of Clipper Green tea, the only green tea worth buying after M&S' Green tea with jasmine (NOT only because of the pretty packaging - it's also a green tea which doesn't taste like glorified swamp water.) I only drink this stuff when I'm in an exceptional mood or (never and/or) feeling bloated.

However, these supplies are just for when I'm cooped up. Doing an English degree means I have a lot of time where I'm left to my own devices, and since there are only so many hours one can spend looking out from the library onto the university, I often make treks into coffee shops in Norwich itself, or the couple of cafes UEA has scattered across campus. It seems only fair I take you on my journey of discovery into where I can get the best tea in Norwich, hopefully in a place that also doubles up as a good place to study/ a good place to put on Instagram/ or a nice place to take a break from the ceaseless stream of reading I endure. 

I will be back soon with the first instalment in what is sure to be an endlessly exciting rollercoaster ride of a series. 

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Maira Gall