Wednesday, November 3, 2010

my family's tea

I'm at my desk with six boxes of tea. This happens every now and again - mum and dad run out and I post them more because Tasmania is bereft of it. In the family it's called Green Signal Green Label, and on the box it's called Tetley Robur Green Signal Blended China Pekoe. I'll point out here that I receive no payment from Robur or Tetley, and scorn and spit on the vast majority of their so-called tea.
But Green Label's a great tea, the family have been rusted-on advocates since it was made by a small family-owned company, previous to the two takeovers by Robur and Tetley respectively. It was taken off the shelves a couple of decades ago, and everyone complained, and it came back. Then maybe three years ago it disappeared completely. And then I found a stash at that marvellous emporium, Deniliquin Go-Lo, my favourite shop in the whole world, and all was well for a time. Then we ran out. And Deni Go-Lo ran out. Dad made a blend he thought tasted something like it. Mum disagreed.
A year or so later I was at a community event with an eccentric pianist who said, 'I've just bought ten boxes of tea', and obviously that's the kind of thing a Green Label fan would say, and we established that he was also a Green Label guy and that there was a stash at IGA supermarkets. I looked at my local - Nothing. The tea shelf was bare. But THEN at the supermarket near work - BOOM! An ongoing supply!!! So anyway I post them a couple of boxes now and then. Every six months or so they come to visit and buy their own, just like you would in a sane world. Dad stocks up on Stimorol chewing gum, similarly unavailable.
So yeah. That's my family's tea. I don't drink it. It's nice, don't get me wrong, but it has its place and that is with my family, and then when I go back, the tea tastes like mum and dad's house. It did taste like that at Gran's house, but she is no longer with us. Since September. We had a very special funeral with sponge cake and a giant urn and great silver teapots of Green Label tea, which we all take white with no sugar. It's how we farewell people in our family.
Gran was a sniffer in the army in world war two. She had a very good sense of smell. As Grandad said once, she could tell at five hundred yards whether you were smoking a Woodbine or a Craven-A. Every afternoon she'd do the tea thing with the pot and the tray and the milk jug and the biscuits and I'm going to have to stop writing now because thinking about Gran makes me so sad. I miss her.


  1. I just listened today on Radio National about this same tea and a similar story. A family that loves this tea and cannot obtain it now. I am in Tasmania too. Can it still be found in Deniliquin?