The beautiful island of Öland was our final port of call on this year’s summer holiday.
While out on a day trip around the southern end of the island, we visited the village of Vickleby. We popped into the famous Capellagården design centre’s shop, and it was there that I found this delightful cup, made by Martina Christerson…
Its profile reminded me of a slightly larger version of some Chinese porcelain cups I have, so I handed over 150 shiny Swedish crowns to make it my very own.
Later that day back at the hotel I inaugurated it into its new life as a teacup with the help of a splash of Bai Mu Dan. I can happily report that it performed admirably, with the rim staying cool enough to allow safe handling and sipping without fear of scorching tips or lips.
As this trip has gone by, one thing has become increasingly apparent to me, and that is although the leaves in the stash I brought along – the Bai Mu Dan, the Haiwan Sweet Aroma shou, and the Hai Lang Hui Wei sheng – are all fine teas in their own right, they tend to get a bit hmmm once you’ve had them day in day out for a month.
Given that, I’d been on the lookout for new leaves, just to sup something different on this final leg of the trip, but as I’ve said many times over the years, as beautiful as it is, small town Sweden simply ain’t the place to go if you’re hoping to score for decent tea.
Thankfully, my luck was about to change. In the island’s main town Borgholm I wandered into a shop named Hantverket, located at Storgatan 23. My eyes immediately locked onto an array of large tea tins, and I scuttled over for a closer look.
Amongst the usual suspects lurked a Formosa Oolong, supplied by Swedish company Kahls. Just the ticket / what the doctor ordered / what the frustrated teahead needed to reinvigorate his slightly bored palate. Despite not being given the option to inspect the leaves pre-purchase, something that normally I find a bit off-putting, I bought 100 gram’s worth anyway, as I was unlikely to get another chance like this this late in the trip, and was more than happy to take a bit of a punt on a small purchase.
Whilst perusing the other goods on offer in this charming boutique I came across an infuser basket style tea filter, made by Teeli of Germany. Seeing as it was advertised as a snug fit for your average tea or coffee mug I bought one of those, too, thinking that it would make for a useful addition to my on-the-road kit.
This has indeed been the case. It dropped perfectly into the mugs in our hotel room, and merrily assisted in the steeping of a couple of pinches of Bai Mu Dan.
That Formosa Oolong also did the business, too. Once we got back to the hotel I dropped a few grams into the old Kamjove and kicked back during a four round mini-session before going out to eat. A bit of a workaday tea, to be sure, but after weeks of being on the Bai Mu Dan/sheng/shou treadmill it was about as welcome as a lemonade stand in the middle of the Sahara.
All too soon it was time for us to say goodbye to Öland, and head off home, via an overnight pit-stop at the extended family’s house in the country, where we began our trip a month ago.
Soon I’ll be unpacking what’s left of my travel stash, and cleaning and putting away my on-the-road kit until the next voyage.
Then I’ll take a bit of time to catch up with all the developments in the Teosphere that I’ve missed over the last four and a bit weeks – see who’s drinking what, and what they think of it, maybe start planning an August raid on a few tea retailers.
Travel’s all well and good, but at the end of the day, it’s good to be home, and home is where the gaiwan is.