While other foreign bloggers in Chile write about inanities such as poverty, human trafficking, racism and the joy of Talca, i'm keeping focused on the serious issues. Just what do you do when your supply of PG Tips Pyramids runs out?
When i was living in Argentina, i had all my visitors from back home bring me boxes of tea. I amassed a fair few tea bags over the course of a year or so-something in the region of 1500 actually. Why did i need to have tea smuggled into the country, i can hear you ask. Because tea in Argentina was rotten. It was all locally produced, weak and foul. The only half decent tea i found was Lipton but it was horribly expensive and i'm not a great fan of it to be honest.
This was an issue that started to worry me a couple of months ago here in Chile. I was running low on PG Tips and decided to start experimenting with locally available teas. First attempts weren't altogether successful. A lot of tea in Chile is imported from Argentina. However, after rummaging around the supermarket shelves, i came across two or three that were made from tea imported from Sri Lanka. That's proper tea.
So here's my guide about how to make a god cuppa tea in Chile.
First, choose your tea. After much trial and error i've found Té Club to be the best. Be careful to only buy the blue box as this is the only variety of theirs that is made from Ceylon tea.
Next, use a big mug. None of these nancy tea cups. Use two tea bags per mug-it's not very strong and one bag gives you grey water. Pour in boiling water that´s not quite boiling. Stir the tea bags and then let stand for a minute or two.
Now use a tea spoon and wrap the strings from the tea bag around the spoon until you can squash all the lovely tea out of the bag with your thumb.
Finally, add milk* and enjoy. Do not add sugar. If you have to add sugar to your tea, it means you don´t like tea.
As a final note, you should be really aware that if you order té con leche (tea with milk) in Chile, what you'll get is a lukewarm cup of milk and a tea bag. Ask for té con un poco de leche aparte and you should get a tea bag, some lukewarm water and a bit of milk on the side. Ask for the agua that comes with the tea bag to be bien caliente por favor and you might just be lucky enough to get really hot water. Best to just not order tea when you're out and about. Save it for when you get home.
*You can't get real milk in Chile. It's all UHT stuff that tastes nasty. The least revolting tasting milk i've found is the semi-skimmed Lonco Leche brand. It's the only one that doesn't separate when it's added to hot drinks.