Writing an article about culinary trends early February is a bit like wishing someone a happy new year this week. You can still do it but you should have done it a while ago. But believe me, I’ve thought about writing this article for weeks, I just took some time to find my words.
For some years we have seen a trend of coffee roasters /coffe shops. These coffee shops (with or without roasting) are in France much less developed than elsewhere, and are rather associated with Starbucks, but this is changing.
We have also seen an explosion of tea brands, which not only just have their shops but also make partnerships at parties and events, such as the Kusmi Tea and its sister brand Løv Organic.
So what’s the link between the two? After the coffee wave, tea rooms, with or without shop open here there, and they are experiencing a frank success. They are not only girly/grandma versions of old tea rooms, these are a more fresh update to our tastes and needs, with WiFi and a simple yet cozy decoration.
In Lyon, we recently had a large amount of those places opening up. “En Aparthé” a shop with a tea corner, “A Nous Les Caprices” bakery / tea room and more, and last week “La Bicycletterie” tearoom / Bicycle repair serving Betheman & Barton teas. Yes, because it is not enough to have Lipton Yellow tea bags with tea dust: consumers are looking for good taste and quality. I don’t mean a menu the size of an A4, but references other than ” mint tea, chamomile, normal tea (I never understood what that is) and then I think that’s all I have” begins to be important. A great falafel place in Lyon (la Yaafa) makes homemade ice tea, a killer, and that’s what makes all the difference. Even Waina, a wine bar serves good tea exposed in pretty boxes. If you already serve quality products, you must go beyond the core product.
And the possibilities are endless with the tea. Tea goes with a variety of foods. With fresh herbs such as mint or lemon verbena with warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom and anise, with flower petals, citrus (yes Earl Grey lovers, bergamot is a citrus fruit) and even in the kitchen with langoustines and other iodine beasts.
In my native country, Sweden, we have the hot beverage break or Fika, as we call it. It’s a real institution. In enterprises (twice a day at 10am and 15h), with friends, as a first date, alone with a lap top or the old school version of it: a book. Every street have a cafe / tea room, or “Fik” as we say. In Poland, every time we are invited to someone, the host always offers tea, sometimes served in fine glasses. In, Burma , they eat tea. The tea leaf is fermented in bamboo tubes, and served seasoned with sesame oil and garlic. In other words, pickled tea.