Neither of my parents were tea-drinkers. My first taste of the stuff came when I was maybe nine or ten years old during a family holiday at Butlin’s in Pwllheli. We’d been accompanied there by my cousin and aunt, with the latter one evening taking it upon herself to proffer me a standard British cuppa made with a teabag, with milk and two sugars added. I duly tasted it, but thought it was quite disgusting, and couldn’t fathom why anyone would voluntarily consume the stuff.

About sixteen years later, I related this experience to my then pen-pal, a German student who spent her summers working in a tea-shop in Regensburg. She took it upon herself to send me a package containing some loose-leaf teas. One was a rooibos-based blend; while the other was a green tea with jasmine. These struck me as much more appealing than the ubiquitous paper sachets part-filled with brown leaf-dust I was more familiar with. Having acquired the necessary paraphernalia to try them I was favourably impressed: I did like tea after all.

Another dozen coffee-dominated years elapsed before I turned to tea-drinking in earnest, and tentatively began to explore the world of green, black and white teas, of oolongs and pu’ers. Fluctuating fortunes meant that there were times I was obliged to stick to cheaper options, and thereby learned to appreciate the lesser merits of mass-produced (bagged) English Breakfast teas, though never with milk or sugar added, which to my mind do not belong in a nice cup of tea.

For the last three years I’ve been ordering loose-leaf teas from What-Cha, whose ever-changing selection never fails to intrigue. Today’s brew - shown above - was a simple and relatively inexpensive (but nevertheless delicious) ‘Four Seasons’ Taiwanese oolong. The cup and saucer in the picture are from a partial set of Kokura porcelain I found in a charity shop. Although I’ve lately become re-acquainted with coffee, I remain primarily a tea-drinker.