Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My desire crescendos for Tea Forté

On our recent travels, I finally had the chance to try a brand of tea that was a treat for the tongue. On a cruise, there's always free coffee and tea available in the buffet. But it's crap coffee and crap tea. No doubt recognizing the other side of this market, our Celebrity cruise was equipped with an elegant, Italian-style coffee shop, Cafe al Bacio. You could order something to sip, something to nibble and sit in the comfy wing-back chairs and watch the water go by. To my delight, this spot served a line of really fine teas: Tea Forté.

Tea Forté servings come in pyramid-shaped bags. They're super-sturdy, and maybe actually packed a bit too tightly. But this cafe had purchased pots especially for them; on the end of the bag's string is a tiny plastic tea leaf, which they pulled through a steam hole in the lid, so it stuck out. Nice presentation.

More importantly, the teas I sampled — as after discovering the cafe I returned there almost every afternoon to read and write — were pretty great. They've an Earl Grey that might be the tastiest bergamot I've ever had, perhaps because of a tinge of orange. The English Breakfast is OK. It's a "gourmet" tea brand, so they're heavy on the flavored stuff, and the Orchid Vanilla — with added coconut — is pretty sumptuous. The whole line seems fancy, perfect for restaurants. But, hey, Oprah loves it, singling them out for an endorsement years ago in O magazine, so by all means rush out and snatch 'em up.

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