Hoping to improve my knowledge of the English national drink, I spent an evening tea tasting at Attic in Bristol, which opened a year ago, to sell fine teas through its website and tea bar. We were guided through the tea tasting by Anne, the knowledgable co-owner of Attic, while her partner Richard carefully brewed the tea we were to sample. The philosophy of the tea bar was proclaimed on Anne's t-shirt - to know life, in every breath, in every cup of tea. In the busy life we lead, she explained, a cup of tea can provide a quiet pause to rest and reflect on our life.
Fifteen of us had gathered at Attic for some tea contemplation - on one side of me was a lady who had invited her sister as a birthday treat, on the other a couple in their 20s who had been given a tea infuser for Christmas and wanted to taste some teas to use with it. Soon we were slurping like professional tea tasters and enjoying the ritual of warming the cup, pouring the tea and breathing in the fragrance of the tea leaves left in the pot. Anne had prepared a small snack to accompany each tea we tasted - my favourites were the green olives steeped in earl grey tea and the dark chocolate infused with jasmine tea.
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