Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tea Plans for a Seaside Journey

When one feels a bit run down in the winter, we Northern Californians often make a ready getaway to the raw beauty of the Pacific coast.  To chase away the January blues, my husband booked an airbnb beach house with a full kitchen so I enthusiastically stuffed a cooler full of sausages, duck eggs, salumi, pork loin, soft cheeses along with a hamper loaded with a full head of pineapple, ginger bread cookies, chocolate cookie, two kinds of dried figs, pistachios, various snackage kits, along with a half a dozen aged shengs and obligatory LS.  My head was massively plumped up with various eating and brewing plans.  What could be more romantic and relaxing than a pork laden picnic basket by the seaside?

My plans however received a cruel kick in the nuts from the gods of the sharing economy.  The rented house exuded a strong scent of mold, detergent, funk and  patchouli so unpleasant my husband and I had an immediate allergic reaction; it was clear neither of us could be inside the house without feeling ill.  Due to the cancellation policy, the owner was willing only to release $155 out of the $350 total bill.   Friends- I have to tell you that it was having to deal with various puerh vendors and tea mishaps and that gave me the mental reserve to push through and receive a full refund plus an airbnb voucher.  Actually in the back of my mind, I was secretly planning to funnel that money into my teaware fund if I was able to reclaim it since my husband had already given up on the $200. 

We hastily transferred to the only inn in town.  Although my husband procured the largest suite in the establishment, Captain Davenport's Retreat had three love seats but only one coffee maker and nary an icebox to keep my sausages chilled.  I was so stressed over the earlier incident I unpacked my magic eraser and spent a good twelve minutes scrubbing coffee smudges off the filter basket.  It's totally worth it to remove the coffee taste and odors- I was able to make many reasonable herbal dandelion brews without any coffee flavor.  Serious tea was not meant to be on the coffee maker only due to inadequate water temperature.  Next time, I won't be so woefully unprepared and will travel with my portable stove and teapot.

During breakfast next morning, I grudgingly ordered the standard English Breakfast which turned out to be a bag of Bigelow- at least the management truthfully labeled them as "Cut Leaf Teas" on the menu so I didn't have to get my hopes up.  After a few sips I was firmly in regret city- the tea tasted terrible. I noted the exact same unpleasant dried anchovy profile I suffered from using hard water last month in Virginia.  Can't do much about bad municipal water at the restaurant and vowed never to buy tea around these parts ever again.   So on the second morning even after my serious tirade about water hardness and poor tea quality the day before,  my husband confidently orders black tea while I give him all sorts of hairy eyeballs without effect.  After the waitress leaves, he says with no amount of sass, "I'm not a proprietor of a tea blog and this Earl Grey suits me just  fine".

Despite the tea plans left in a ditch, the seaside town of Davenport had much to offer. Although I didn't quite meet any hobbits in the woods,  those cypress groves gave you a most delicious Middle Earth feeling that I had to photoshop Bilbo in. 


  1. Anonymous6:02 AM

    It's terrible to see such wonderful plans dissolve like that. At least you were able to make the most of it. Plus, now you get new teaware from the extra refund money ;)

  2. I'm so sorry for your bad experience, but glad that you made the best of it!