A week of tea-drinking hell in the Capital is finally broken

6-10am and my two Wellington Airport stalwarts, Best Ugly Bagels (for food) and Freshbites (for tea) are refusing to serve me. They say they’re not open, but the lights are on and the people are there.

Clearly, this is not good for my mood. I’ve been up for more than an hour, and had no tea. Not one drop. And now it looks like the crucial first cup of the day will be courtesy of Air New Zealand. You see my problem.

teapot
A pretty teapot at Preservatorium on Tuesday didn’t lead to a good cup of tea.

It’s been a pretty bad week, tea-wise. Most of it was spent cloistered in a church in planning meetings. Planning tea is not much better than conference tea, so when I could, I escaped into the city on the hunt for something better.

earl grey
Making do with Earl Grey when Hanger runs out of English breakfast.

It wasn’t a very successful strategy. On Tuesday morning, sure I was about to drink a fantastic cup of tea at Preservatorium Cafe and Cannery (it arrived in an engraved silver pot!) I tweeted its praises before I tasted it. Mistake number 1. So at morning-tea time  the same day I kidnapped the people I was working with and took them to Hanger in Dixon St, where I’d had a superb pot of tea the day before (Harney and Sons, English breakfast), only to be told they had just run out and didn’t expect to have any more for several days. Talk about a pub with no beer.

So you can see why denying me a cup of tea at the airport is like poking a stick an angry bear.  Possibly a breach of the Geneva Convention.

But things are about to get better. At the other end of the terminal, the end I don’t usually go to, I spot Embark Café, and they’re making tea.

My marks out of 10

embark tea and pot
Gold leaf for my tea leaves.

Cup 7: Gold-trimmed Dilmah Craighead tea-mug and saucer. A pleasing drinking experience, and totally unexpected (this IS an airport).

Tea 9: Dilmah Vivid range loose-leaf Ceylon Breakfast. “What’s Vivid?” I think when I spot it on the menu. The serving person gives me a tin to look at.

Dilmah describes it like this: “An essential gourmet tea experience; tea from Ceylon’s western high grown region, where the varying climatic conditions produces a perfectly balanced tea. A ruby red liquor yields the best of Ceylon in a tea that offers richness, depth and the slightly grassy, bright note of high quality, fresh tea. Neither too strong nor too light, a delicious tea to wake up to, to revive or simply relax with. A tea for connoisseurs.”

I describe it like this: “A fine cup of tea. Not quite the guts of English breakfast, let alone Wellington breakfast,  but after what I have just been through, it’s darned close to heaven. Made in a small plunger (too small – it holds only one-and-a-half cups and I have to ask for a top-up).

Setting 5. Easy music on the stereo. Pilots debating the merits of burgers to be had in Wellington. Acceptable almond croissant. One of the nicer airport cafes. Without the sartorial flair, perhaps, of The Bach Alehouse at Auckland Airport, but a good place to be if you have to be in an airport.

Dog-friendly? A Customs dog is doing the rounds, but he doesn’t call in.

Open after 3pm? Unknown, but the real point here is that it’s open at 6.10am.

Embark Cafe, Wellington International Airport.

embark wgtn.jpg
As we fly over Wellington’s South Coast,  which is looking rather wild this morning, I decline a cup of airline tea in case it ruins the memories of the tea I’ve just had.

 

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