There’s always time for a cup of tea. How very British! But if you visit Ibi, just a short drive uphill and inland from Alicante, you really should make time for a cup of tea. La Goulette Tea House will give you a very warm welcome and it is a sensory delight with your sight, smell and taste all pushed to their limits.
Set in an old house next door to the main church, Parroquia de la Transfiguración del Señor, you really can’t miss it. Step inside the door and you are immediately hit by Arabesque North Africa. Go upstairs to the bar area and relax. Continue up another floor to sit outside on the terrace under the watchful gaze of the blue dome from the church next door. Inside heavily cushioned benches await anyone wishing to immerse themselves even further into the experience. All around are wonderful pictures showing images of another world.
Deciding what tea to drink is a task in itself. Presented with a menu of several pages it’s easy to get lost in a sea of black, green, gunpowder, assam and goodness knows what else. Add to that the positive cornucopia of additional flavours which can be added and you’ll need a cup of tea just to calm yourself down! In the end we settled for one apple green tea, a black rose tea, an intriguing caramel blend and, yes, an English breakfast tea. One cannot predict the predictability of one’s guests!!
The Canadian cartoonist/novelist summed up this predicament in his book, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life Quotes:
“What do you have?”
“Let´s see… Blueberry, Raspberry, Ginseng, Sleepytime, Green Tea, Green Tea with Lemon, Green Tea with Lemon and Honey, Liver Disaster, Ginger with Honey, Ginger Without Honey, Vanilla Almond, White Truffle Coconut, Chamomile, Blueberry Chamomile, Decaf Vanilla Walnut, Constant Comment and Earl Grey.”
All of the teas are blended especially for you, so be patient. Some time later a silver tray arrived adorned with four silver tea pots and four beautifully decorated tea glasses. The challenge next was to successfully pour the tea without scalding our hands! You see, the problem with silver tea pots (ok, so they were probably NOT really silver) is that the handles conduct heat very well. No number of napkins was sufficient to protect our delicate pinkies. In the end a baseball cap was a suitable temporary oven glove.
The stress of pouring the tea was soon soothed away by the exotic tastes we were experiencing. Well, exotic apart from the unadventurous breakfast tea!
Comedian David Walliams was not wrong when he wrote in Mr Stink:
“In Britain, a cup of tea is the answer to every problem.
Fallen off your bicycle? Nice cup of tea.
Your house has been destroyed by a meteorite? Nice cup of tea and a biscuit.
Your entire family has been eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex that has travelled through a space/time portal? Nice cup of tea and a piece of cake. Possibly a savoury option would be welcome here too, for example a Scotch egg or a sausage roll.”
So, as I said at the beginning, there’s always time for a cup of tea!