US Trip

And we’re back……from an amazing trip in the US where we visited the beautiful Yellowstone (and several other National Parks).

Yellowstone - water fallsFor this trip I didn’t bring tea with me. I got some abuse for being unreliable but I think it turned out to be a good thing because it meant we were more aware of the differences in tea cultures.

Every day over 160 million Americans are drinking tea but approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced. I noticed that when we were in the cold areas (below 0°C with snow), people drank coffee and when it was warm (above 30°C) people opted for iced-tea. It pays to be specific when you want hot tea (lesson learnt the hard way!). To add to the confusion “cream” is offered with coffee but they seem to mean milk when they say cream. I’ve no idea what cream is called.

Lipton is the number one brand of tea in the US followed by Bigelow and Twinnings of London (source). Again, this is skewed with the iced-tea thing because Lipton seems to dominate the iced tea market but Bigelow and Twinnings seem cover the tea leaf market. Celestial tea comes from Colorado so they featured in a lot of places there.

We were surprised by how expensive tea is in supermarkets. The average seems to be around $5 for a box of herbal tea (18-20 teabags) but several times we came across boxes of teabags for $9 or more. Gulp!

Black tea, accounts for more than half of all tea consumed in the country. Green, white, oolong etc take a much lower percentage and pu-ehr not featuring at all. Food in general tends to be more flavoured in the US and this carried over to tea. Fruit and herbal tea, accounts for just over a 25% of U.S. tea consumption and blends and flavoured herbal teas seem most popular. Unflavoured rooibos was especially difficult to find. :-(

Over 65% of the tea brewed in the US is prepared using tea bags. Several restaurants in Denver had loose tea but outside of Denver the loose-leaf tea drinker seems to be an endangered species. People seemed much more concerned about the quality of the coffee that they offered rather than the tea. We fell into line and drank gallons (not litres) of good coffee instead.

Overall a great trip and if the price is a small coffee addiction then it’s definitely a price worth paying.

Grand Teton

 

Photos from Spain

My blog (and my tea drinking) have been badly neglected for the 10 days I was in Spain. Not a decent cup of tea the entire trip but it’s hard to bear a grudge in a such a beautiful country and there was plenty of good food and wine to make up for the lack of tea.

We started off the trip in Mérida, capital of the Roman province of Lusitania and renowned for some of the best preserved Roman sites in Spain.

Roman Theatre - Merida Acueducto de los Milagros - Merida
Goats - Spain

We met some goats on the road.

We couldn’t decide from the guidebook description if we had been to Trujillo before. We had, but didn’t regret the second visit. Then we continued on to another World Heritage site, Guadalupe.

 Trujio

View over Trujillo

Building Trujio

 

After that we spent some time on a farm in the Sierra de Andujar National Park….

Cat - Sierra de Andujar Horse - Sierra de Andujar
Sheep - Sierra de Andujar Goat vs Lamb

….where the horses eat Lavender for breakfast:

Horse & Lavendar

In Castilla–La Mancha, we stopped in the theatre-town of Almagro  and visited Don Quixote’s windmills.

Courtyard - Spain Plaza Mayor - Almagro

Don Quixote's windmills

And finally the trip finished in Cazorla National Park where the birds of prey seemed particularly eager to keep an eye on us.

birds

Such a beautiful country – I’d happily give up tea for another 10 days to do the trip all over again.