Together with seven other tea lovers (two men and five women) I was invited today by Marion van den Blik, owner of Betjeman & Barton, Denneweg 25 in The Hague (www.betjemanandbarton.nl) to have a tea-masterclass in her lovely shop. The first thing we got was a glass of tea, a melange Pouchkine (which tasted a little bit like Earlgray, with bergamot, lemon and orange), with a homemade applecake, made of Granny’s world famous applecake mix. Marion told about the history of the famous tea brand, which started in 1919 when Englishman Mr. Barton visited Paris where he – of course – fell in love with a beautyful French lady, and opened his own tea shop at the boulevard Malesherbes. About 30 years ago Marion visited the B&B shop in Paris, fell in love with this brand of tea and took her own tea with her being abroad. In 1992 Marion decided to make from her passion her profession and opened the first Betjeman and Barton teashop in The Netherlands. Except for many many brands of tea she sells the beautiful pottery of Emma Bridgewater, GreenGate or Bunzlau Castle.
At home and in her shop she has a beautiful collection of about 140 tea pots, antique and modern ones, most of them in the shape of a cat. The first tea we tasted was the Chinese White Pearl from the Fujian province in Southern China, a light green tea, followed by a green Japanese Gyokuro, which has to brew just for one minute, a Black Dragon from Taiwan (with the taste of smoked chestnuts), a biological Darjeeling first flush, picked in March 2010 (€ 34 per 100 gr) and the fifth brand was the Chinese black tea. The prices of these teas are between € 25 and € 45 per 100 gr). You’ll have the best tea by using Spa water of about 70° C, a clean hot teapot, and o no, no sugar please. Then it was time for a so-called low-tea. Marion made delicious wraps with salmon, little clubsandwiches and mini pizzas, trifle and other sweets.
Thank you Marion, I enjoyed your tea-masterclass very much! And I could not resist buying that lovely red and white striped teapot of GreenGate!