Sunday, April 10, 2011

My tea would kill a brown dog

I can only ever remember drinking Bushells tea. I know there are many other types although I cannot think of any at the moment. 

I like very strong tea so had to use more tea in the pot than suited anyone else and this was always inconvenient. Then a few years ago – actually probably many years ago – Bushells introduced Extra Strong Tea Bags. What a marvelous invention.
There are snobs that say tea bags are not real tea. I don’t think this is the case when you drink tea as strong as I have it. The taste is not subtle. My tea would kill a brown dog.
I used to take these tea bags with me when I traveled overseas because I never really liked any other type of tea – and especially in the USA where the tea can be absolutely poisonous.
So when people asked me if I would like tea I would say yes please and tell them I had my own tea bag. They would think I was strange but I would rather be thought of as strange than drink tea that I did not like.
Especially if it is Orange Pekoe because that makes me vomit – and almost immediately. I can use it as an emetic.
But Bushells tea for me was never really the same away from Sydney because the water is different - and the water is a big part of making tea what it is.
So – in all the time we have been in Vienna – I have never had a cup of tea – I had assumed it would not be worth drinking - until a week or so ago.
Naturally I brought with me some hundreds of Bushells Extra Strong Tea Bags and they have been sitting there staring at me sullenly. I have used some for visitors but have  never used one for myself because I just knew I would be disappointed – and was not prepared to face that disappointment.
But my favorite breakfast drink was always Bushells tea and this particular morning I was desperate for a cup of tea and I thought I would give it a try.
It was brilliant.
It brought back all those memories of when I was droving mobs of sheep with my son Lenny and we would stop by a creek and rest the horses – boil the billy – throw in a handful of Bushells and have a hot mug of char and a bit of a yarn before moving on.
Now Merisi – who knows about these things – has told me previously that Viennese water is some of the purest on the planet. She must be right because the combination of Viennese water and Bushells tea is just nectar of the Gods. It must be good. It conjured up memories of things I never did.
It is now my daily breakfast and evening drink and of course I am panic stricken at the thought that I will run out.
Fortunately we have visitors in May who will now have some unexpected baggage. Anyone else reading this and planning on visiting will now know what to bring. We are OK for Vegemite.
The other things that I miss – surprisingly because they are so innocuous – are Sao biscuits and Salada Crackers. Weird. They just have nothing like them here. Sure they make tasteless biscuits – but not tasteless in the same sort of unique tasty way. 


  1. We should be perfectly clear on one thing. Tea is NOT an Australian product, merely stuff they import from abroad. I suspect that Bushells puts the same kind of stuff into their tea that McDonalds puts into their hamburger sauces. So, wouldn't it be better (from an objective scientific point of view) to investigate matters at the source? Maybe you persist in believing that the Bushells company had created some kind of magic homeopathic fairy that flew into their every cup of tea… At this level, see the marvelous Minchin Storm video that I evoked on Antipodes.

  2. Badger, you worry me. When an Aussie expat starts salivating about fucking Sao biscuits, it's truly time for you to jump on a Qantas jet headed for Brisbane. We're entering the terrible domain of purely palliative remedies. If the glories of Vienna haven't cured you of this kind of nostalgia, then I conclude sadly that you're a Hopeless Case.

  3. An authentic Aussie beverage that merited planetary worship was Billy Tea brewed in the bush in a billycan above an open eucalytus fire. It accompanied a slice of damper and butter.

  4. A university department of sociology (or maybe physiology) should ask its doctoral students to perform an in-depth investigation of all this weird Aussie shit about Vegemite, Bushells tea, Sao biscuits, Kraft cheese, Jaffas, etc. From afar, I can sense vaguely what it's all about, although I've apparently escaped from the clutches of these strange dictatorial forces. It's a bit like the celebrated madeleine of Proust transformed into a curious continental affliction. Seriously, there seems to be some kind of real underlying problem.

  5. I had to re-read the first sentence as I thought it said "Bushmills Tea". At which point, I was very excited to learn that Bushmills makes tea.

    Must say, I do not know anything about tea. I usually find the taste of tea too delicate or light, probably because I'm used to very strong, acidic coffee.

    But, now that I've learned of Bushells Extra Strong, I must find some.

  6. When I met Jim he introduced me to his personal blend which friends had introduced him to earlier. It certainly wouldn't suit you, Badger, but we like it enough to take our tin with us when visiting overnight and planning to have tea. Otherwise we drink whatever sort of coffee our host and hostess provide.

    The blend is Twinings - 50/50 English Breakfast and Earl Gray, aka Lingering Afterburn and Poofters!

    That said, I'm not sure what that says of us...

  7. Coincidentally - sitting in front of the fire (well, it's a heater) at 6ish in the morning, reading this and drinking a cup of Bushells Tea.

    And with the 30000 apples from our tree, I've just tried a new recipe for Apple Jelly with Ceylon Tea - it tastes like teay apples.

  8. William: Food fetishes are indeed a strange business. See today's blog.

    Jessica: I will bring some with me.

    Annie: It says you like your own tea - as you should.

    freefalling: Perfect way to start the day.

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  10. An even stranger business is making 4 consecutive commenst on one blog post, one might say.

    I'm not really a tea drinker, although the rest of my family always have been. However, I understand about missing familiar and much loved tastes - would be happy to send you some tea, biscuits, etc Badger. Just don't start yearning for diamonds & champagne.

  11. I have enough Bushells to last until the home leave trip. Will send an emergency request if I get stuck.