Palais des Thés Vive le Thé

I’m dead. There’s nothing left of me but a pile of promissory notes and a battered, bloody copy of the Model Penal Code. What’s the difference between a lawyer and a shut-in? The degree. What’s the difference between breakfast and lunch? No damned clue. I had a coffee for lunch. I distinctly remember blinking once at 10AM and once at 12PM and all of a sudden, it was 4 and the sun was going down.DSC_6669Oh my god.

They told me academic vampirism would be sexier and would have more fringe benefits than regular vampirism, like a more defined jawline and no need for sleep. Instead it’s just given me endless anxiety and a sudden apathy for personal hygiene. Which brings me to my next question: what happens to homeless vampires? Did they fail their contracts exams, too? My downtime has been punctuated with listless scrolling through food blogs and Petfinder and I’m trying to find a way to smuggle a biscuit sandwich, or, failing that, a blog about biscuit sandwiches, into my exams. In the meantime, I’m drinking tea. This tea is inspired by Paris. I love it. But it’s nothing like Paris.DSC_6666Paris was punctuated by tea in the dead of winter with the windows wide open, black looseleaf lapsang souchong in a cracked yellow cup glued together with spiderweb-thin lines at the points of fracture, and Paris was watery tea in plastic cups that ballooned and melted at the bottom when engulfed in boiling water and spice-choked sachets of lemon and fig tea. Paris was murky, dusty bags of unwrapped black tea in wine glasses when the mugs were filthy, and silence concentrating on jasmine and a gold-rimmed teacup, and, when all else failed, a cuppa something for three, five euro in an empty cafe where the seats were backed in wicker, duly uncomfortable, but they held you up.

I’d never had this tea, though I’d remembered its storefront fondly on my stroll to, ironically, Kusmi or Mariage Freres for my dandy darjeeling or moody blacks, through Rue Vielle du Temple to les Archives and beyond. I wish I’d thought to try it as it would have lent a springy, verdant step to my paces, with its bright notes of ginger and fresh, almost sour-sweet mint leaves. Each flavor reminisces my travels- a freshness from the mint like Moroccan tea, ginger spiciness like the Speculaas cookies so prevalent in Amsterdam.

The sachets are beautiful, both functional and clean in design with a drawstring-style mesh netting that allows the leaves ample space to bloom inside. For all the careful balance of flavors, it’s easy to forget that the underlying base is a strong green tea, earthy and a little bitter, mitigated by the light, sunny citrus notes like a patch of sunlight on a fading carpet. Each sip is a portable sauna. Iced, it’s a piquant chilled dream. Each time I’ve had this I’ve felt an aching, pleasant nostalgia for my European home.

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