My love affair with tea began nearly 25 years ago in Calcutta, as it was there that I first met Mike, my tea-trader husband. Tea has been at the heart of my life ever since. From that essential, first cup of tea of the day, to an enjoyable afternoon tea at a friend's house, I cannot help myself from appraising each and every cup. After years of sharing a life with someone who, quite literally, sniffs the contents of teapots, or dissects teabags in hotels, it was inevitable that I became, as it were, infused with the subject.
Over the years, I seem to have become, like my husband has always been, a tea "help desk" to anyone I know, or happen to meet. People do seem to want to talk about tea, and have all sorts of questions… Which tea to drink and where to buy it? Which tea bags are the best at the moment? What gives Earl Grey its flavour? Is this tea any good?
It became clear that the obvious thing to do, with the guidance of my own in-house expert, was to go into the business myself. So, for the last two years I have put much of my energy and enthusiasm into creating and building the Bellevue tea brand.
A trip to Sri Lanka was, of course, essential. I wanted to make sure that I was happy with the way the tea was being produced. I visited the estates where my tea is grow