An Englishman’s Cup of Kempinsky Tea in Bansko

Mar 06, 2011 No Comments by

Tea In The Kempinsky

How can an Englishman find proper tea in Bansko? He heads to the Kempinsky for tea. Real tea served in the same manner and style you may expect to find in London’s finest Fortnum & Mason’s or in any of the burgeoning tea shops in Britain. Tea is the new coffee – or something like that.

Hot And Wet

Like any Englishman, I like a good cup of tea. The British are considered to be the largest per capita tea consumers. However, we are in fact second – just pipped at the post for the number one position by the Turkish, at 2.1kg of tea per head per annum. Everybody knows the afternoon tea tradition, and the recipe for its preparation — boil the kettle; warm up the tea pot by swirling some hot water in it; then add the loose tea leaves to the empty pot and pour hot water in. But when was the last time you actually did this? I confess I buy tea bags “for convenience” although I stock up the wonderful Bulgarian loose mint tea leaves, widely available. But tea should be allowed to brew in a pot for a few minutes, from two to six minutes depending on the tea type.

The pot should be kept warm. Again, we’ve known this stuff for years — and I, for one, had forgotten it. Remember the ever so useful tea cosy? This woolly hat for the tea pot has gone out of fashion. Past images of Hilda Ogden, of Coronation Street fame, and her tea pot cosy are pouring forth out of the deep canyons of my mind!

The Tea Menu

Bansko gondola camI struck lucky to find tea in Bansko. Tea prepared and served in the same exquisite way that it would be in a Park Lane hotel in London. I’m really grateful to Tim, the manager of the Kempinsky Hotel in Bansko, for introducing me to this little known offering. Served up at any time of day in their lobby bars and their spa centre’s vitamin bar.

So here I am, sitting comfortably in the sunny lounge, choosing between all the varieties of loose teas in the new Kempinsky tea menu. What a cool idea. I’m getting into this whole thing now… loving the detailed information — from the familiar, such as Darjeeling and Earl Grey; to Japanese and Moroccan mint. For my first order, I was not too adventurous. I placed my bet on my much loved, and well-known English, Earl Grey tea.

The Tea Ceremony

Then what follows is a nice treat. The waitress arrives with a beautiful tea pot, with a candle lit underneath to keep it warm. Simple instructions, put the loose tea leaves already in the filter delivered, pour in the hot water and insert the filter with the tea. With instructions on the optimum brew time, I was all set. Except that, to my surprise, they had also delivered a really funky spirit timer. This device had dark ink floating upwards, and little markers to ensure precise brewing timings can be strictly adhered to.

Whilst impressed by the whole ceremony, it was the very fine taste of my tea that was the biggest delight. Was this the best cup of tea I have had in Bulgaria? No, it was the best ever. Tim explained that in my special earl grey tea, the addition of the oil of bergamot has been natural, and measured in quantity. Then he explained how the fresh, and soft, Bansko mountain water helped enhance the flavour. Then my eyes noticed the nice little touches… the tasty biscuit on the side and the options of sugar, milk and honey — all at the ready.

Tea Infused Business

After this first tea experience, I’ve been back many more times for meetings at the Kempinsky with tea and it makes a nice initial point of interest. With my lap top clasped permanently to my side (well for fellow tekkies it’s a yummy MacBook Air 13”) the Kempinsky is also a quiet and productive place to attend to emails. The Wi-fi, both fast and free, in the comfortable and quiet smoke-free Kempinsky lobby is a pleasure that is enhanced whilst sipping a world-class cup of tea. I’ve indulged again on recent visits; tasting more and more unusual varieties, such as the tea from Japan. Please experiment with these teas and, if you do, please comment below on your favourites.

If you are a tea lover or just curious, I recommend to go and experience tea at the Kempinsky. A quick browse on Wikipedia on tea is good preparation. FACTS: Kempinsky large pot of tea: 9 BGN; one pot serves four cups, and all cups will be remain hot ’till drunk.

FIS Apline Ski World Cup Bansko: Logodaj wine

Bansko: Good Enough For Royalty?

The Kempinski tea ritual is a fine example of the exceptional quality available in Bansko. It is also sets the standard for quality and individual service in Bansko.

Another drink that amazes most visitors, and locals alike, is the Bulgarian wine. You may have not heard that Bulgaria produces world class wine, but it’s a fact — it does. Lots of sunshine, and an incredibly rich soil, make for wines with an fine mineral backbone and flavour. Stay tuned for an article about the variety and regions of Bulgarian wines. But be sure to grab the last few special bottles of FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Bansko wine. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Melnik, 2007 vintage from my recent favourite winery, Logadaj (located outside Blagoevgrad). Also look out for their affordable Chardonnay white, and their fine Rubin Nobile, 2007. See my Top 10 wines, for more on Bulgarian wine.

Going beyond drinks, the immaculate organisation of the Men’s World Cup I commented upon here, proved that Bansko is good enough for its many high-profile visitors. From what I could see, I’m sure all the Bulgarian ministers, celebrities and sports stars had no complaints about the faultless catering, and the attention to detail. The visiting Prince of Monaco, along with Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov, on March 25th places Bansko on the circuit of mountain resorts that can genuinely cater for those looking for something special.

I feel that Bansko has gone a long way since its early years. Today, I’m happy to report that the promise of a five star experience can be realised. But more than that, it’s clear the town accommodates people of all tastes, preferences and budget. Explore the options that match your own preferences in my updated, and no B.S., 2011 Guide to Bansko. Add your email in the box below. Be sure to opt in. I hate spam – so I guarantee you’ll never receive any from me.

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Tips Of The Day:

  • Check out new Q Cam Gondola pic, temperature and humidity. NOW LIVE ACTION
  • Ski packages; book up to day before hire
  • Wrap up warm: next few days will be very cold
  • Click on play to listen to Michael Green’s “Let’s Go To Bansko” here:
  • [audio:]and the brand new Bansko Blog theme song from Michael: [audio:]

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About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
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