Thursday, November 16, 2006


Madrid’s Mercado de la Cebada is not a pretty place. I’ve seen photos that show it was once was one of those turn-of-the-century beauties decked out in wrought iron, but somewhere along the way, the graceful old building was torn down to make way for today’s brick and cement bunker. As Spanish markets go, it fulfills its function—good produce, good fish, good meat—but unless you count the nudie calendar hung on the wall across from the chicken and egg guy, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing of places. And many of the original stalls stand empty, which, coupled with occasional noises from the mayor’s office about “revitalization,” sometimes leads me to suspect that the Cebada is not long for this world.

Which is why I was so pleased to walk in there a few weeks ago and see one of those previously abandoned stands suddenly occupied. TeymiGordy (more on the unfortunate name below) is lined with bright blue canisters, each one—there are over 300—containing a different variety of tea. All the basics are there, though even a simple chamomile comes in several versions—Egyptian, for example. But the most enticing are the blends, like green tea with strawberries and white orange blossoms, or the romantically named “Arab Sighs,” with rose petals, raspberry, hibiscus, cardamom, and cinnamon. There are also flavored sugars (lemon, caramel, three kinds of brown)and a middling collection of tea cookies. Two pots on sternos contain the day’s free samples.

TeymiGordy is run by Laura Miso, whose hair is dyed to match her tea canisters. The shop’s name came from the two things, she says, that comfort her: Tea (that would be the “Té”) and “my dog Gordy,” (that would be the Westie pictured on the sign). She got the idea to open a tea shop because, she says, “I don’t like coffee.” Those are heretical words in this espresso-fueled city, but she figured there had to be others like her. Here’s hoping she’s right.

TéymiGordy is located to the right of the stairs as you enter the Mercado de la Cebada. Tel: 91 344 2038.

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