Tea on the trail
I love a cup of tea in the morning, and a second one to follow that preferably. A decent cuppa in the p.m. goes down well too, come to that, for post hike rehydration, a pint of tea in the evening is also the perfect answer. But despite having made hundreds of cups of tea (possibly thousands) outdoors, I still find mastering the perfect cup of tea a bit of a struggle.
Brewing up a pint of water and a tea bag is no problem. I have dabbled with loose tea in the past and may yet again, but while saving on the problem of disposal of perforated paper etc, the accompanying mess of wet leaves produced by loose tea still proves a nuisance, both to dispose surreptitiously (leave no trace) and the cleaning of any filters etc that have been utilised.
So it remains the tea bag. Assam is my favourite, especially to get up and moving in the morning. This is an Indian tea obviously, though I will happily indulge in a decent mix of China teas such as Whittard’s Russian Caravan. Another pretty good cup of tea can be made from English Breakfast which is blended from teas grown thousands of miles apart. However, being mostly strong teas with a fair degree of tannin, they all require milk. Therein lies the problem. I weaned myself off full fat milk and sugar in tea decades ago, semi skinned is the way to go. Try and equate this to a decent milk powder and it becomes a struggle. The usual, thinner powders just simply do not produce a decent flavour while the better alternative, such as Nido, an excellent full fat milk powder that works great with granola, porridge and the like, makes a greasy, scummy cup of tea that makes me retch.
So, after thirty years of making, or attempting to make, my standard cuppa in the field, I am searching for a palatable alternative. It has to be either a more mild black tea that can be drunk without milk, such as a weak Lapsang souchong, or one of the green teas or infusions that proliferate these days. While many are ‘OK’, none particularly rock my boat and I have yet to find one that I truly enjoy, but the search goes on…