Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Earl Greyer, correcter

The Republic of Tea makes an excellent Earl Grey tea, Earl Greyer. Its container includes this bit of text:

Goslan gives the account of sipping in the early nineteenth century with the master of Human Comedy: “As fine as tobacco from Ladakh, as yellow as Venetian gold, the tea responded, without doubt, to the praise with which Balzac perfumed it before letting you taste; but you had to submit a kind of initiation to enjoy the droit de degustation . . ."
Nearly two months ago I wrote a letter to the maker:
Dear Republic,

I am a great fan of your teas, particularly your Earl Greyer. But there are three changes you should make, not to your Earl Greyer but to its packaging:

1. The account of drinking tea with Balzac is by Léon Gozlan, not Goslan. If you’re using one of Jason Goodwin’s books on tea, both have the name wrong. The name can be easily verified online.

2. The excerpt from Gozlan’s account is missing a word: “you had to submit to.”

3. The French word dégustation should have its accent, as in Goodwin’s A Time for Tea. It’s part of a French phrase preserved in the English translation, droit de dégustation. The French can be checked in Google Books by searching for gozlan droit de dégustation.

With best wishes for accuracy and good tea,
I thought I’d receive a reply. Maybe even some tea. No reply. No tea. Just this post.


October 23, 2018: Last week I remembered my letter, checked a new canister of Earl Greyer in my cabinet, and found all three corrections. Who knew? I went to The Republic of Tea website, found a contact form, and left a comment saying that some acknowledgement of my letter would have been appropriate. I’m happy to know that The Republic agrees. Today I received a call from Kristina Richens, the company’s Minister of Commerce, who is sending some Earl Greyer my way. Thanks to The Republic of Tea for this generous response.

And to think that it’s all because of our household’s two-person reading club — and especially because of Elaine’s affection for Balzac. It was reading Stefan Zweig’s biography Balzac that prompted me to look up the story of Balzac serving tea.

Related reading
All OCA tea posts (Pinboard)

[Correcter, I know, is not a word. I realize now that Goodwin’s The Gunpowder Gardens: Travels through India and China in Search of Tea (1990) and A Time for Tea (2009) are one and the same. For me, reading the package is a habit that began with the breakfast cereals of childhood.]

comments: 4

Fresca said...

This made me laugh.
I would say you are a Defender.

Michael Leddy said...

I hope that’s a compliment. :)

Frex said...

Humor + Defender of Tea & Citations?
Definitely a compliment!

Michael Leddy said...

Okay, I’ll take it. :) Thank you.