Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
For those of you who did not know as well as those who want to refresh their memories, black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the green, oolong and white varieties. Amazingly, all four varieties are made from the same plant - or should I say leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea is known for its stronger flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas - green, oolong, or white.
Generally, unblended black teas are named after the region in which they are produced. Often, different regions are known for producing teas with characteristic flavors. The first region of teas listed below are Chinese black teas.
- Lapsang Souchong (正山小种 or 烟小种): originally from Mount Wuyi, Fujian Province, China. It is a black tea which is dried over burning pine, thereby developing a strong smoky flavour.
- Keemun (祁門) : from Qimen, Anhui Province, China, a Chinese Famous Tea.
- Dian Hong (滇紅): from Yunnan Province, China. Well known for dark malty teas and golden bud teas.
- Ying De Hong (英徳紅): from Guangdong Province, China.
- Ju Qiu Mei Hong: from Hu Fou district, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China.
I have not purchased black teas in a while, therefore the next time I do, I will refer back to this list to determine which I am drinking. The next region of teas listed come from India and Sri Lanka:
- Assam: from Assam, India. Full bodied, strong and distinctively malty.
- Darjeeling: from West Bengal, India.
- Kangra: from Himachal Pradesh, India.
- Nilgiri: from Nilgiri, Tamil Nadu, India.
- Ceylon: from Sri Lanka.
Rest assured, I plan to research my Indian Spice tea to determine which category it falls into. As always, I will keep you posted as soon as I find out. To finalize my list of teas from around the world, I discovered that several other regions offer distinctive, well known black teas.
- Kenyan: from Africa, similar to Assam.
- Vietnamese: from Vietnam, similar to some cheaper Yunnan teas, with a pleasant and sweet aroma but a more bodied and darker brew; unlike teas from Nepal or Darjeeling.
- Nepalese: from uplands of Nepal. Somewhat similar to lower grades of Darjeeling.
- Rize Tea (Çay): from Rize Province on the eastern Black Sea coast of Turkey, that is crystal clear and mahogany in colour. Prepared in a samovar or a caydanlik, it can be served strong ("koyu" dark) or weak ("açik" light), in small glasses with cubed sugar.
- Thai tea: from Thailand
- Azerbaijani tea: from Caucasus in Azerbaijan
- Georgian tea: from Caucasus in Georgia
- Krasnodar tea: from Caucasus in Russia
- Java tea: from Indonesia, has got nutty aroma, very different from both Chinese and Indian teas.
- Sumatra tea: from Indonesia, similar to Java tea.
The next time you prepare to brew a soothing cup of black tea, check the label to determine from where the leaves originated and the category of black tea to which it belongs. Then return and share your experience. Happy tea drinking!
Reference: Black tea. (2008, April 1). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:33, April 5, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Black_tea&oldid=202475951
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Dry Aroma: Very pungent robust scent - this tea has a spicy yet soapy (cardamom) smell
Flavor: Full bodied and slightly bitter - probably attributed to the cardamon. I prefer to drink with honey and milk or cream. However, depending on my mood, I may drink without milk/cream.
Liquor: Dark brown
Brewing Time: 5 minutes - I love a strong cup of tea.
Manufacturer: Harney & Sons Fine Teas
What is cardamom?
Cardamom is the dried, unripened fruit of the perennial Elettaria cardamomum. Enclosed in the fruit pods are tiny, brown, aromatic seeds which are slightly pungent to taste. Cardamom pods are generally green but are also available in bleached white pod form. It is available both in the whole pod and as decorticated seeds with the outer hull removed.
Friday, April 4, 2008
At the time of purchase, Harney and Sons were out of the small sized clear glass teapots they normally carry. This is what prompted me to check Bed Bath and Beyond. FYI, if ordering from Bed Bath and Beyond the teaposy can only be purchased online. The brand carried there is "teaposy" designed specifically for their blooming tea carrying the same namesake. Blooming tea is synonymous with art tea. A special feature of the teaposy is the strainer that fits perfectly within the spout. I found this to be beneficial as the bulb lost several petals when water was added to the teapot to activate steeping.
Other retailers that carry clear glass teapots:
- Stash Tea
- Adagio Teas
Happy Tea Drinking!
Dry Visual: Looks like a flower bulb planted in one's flower bed
Dry Aroma: Very little smell
Flavor: I was pleasantly surprised by how flavorful this tea was. My first love leans towards a stronger tea so I typically do not drink green tea. Seven Sons Congratulating has changed my mind.
Manufacturer: Harney & Sons Fine Teas
Thursday, April 3, 2008
After checking out the packaging on my Winter White Earl Grey, I discovered that my tea of choice is a Mutan White Tea. What is Mutan White Tea? I don't know, so I started conducted a little research.
So far, I have not found a lot of information on Mutan White Tea. However, I was able to find out a significant am out of information on White Tea. My findings are as follows:
Chinese white teas:
- Bai Hao Yinzhen (Silver needle): The highest grade of the Bai Hao Yinzhen should be fleshy, bright colored and covered with tiny white hairs. Fujian Province, China.
- Bai Mu Dan (White Peony): A grade down from Bai Hao Yinzhen tea, incorporating the bud and two leaves which should be covered with a fine, silvery-white down. From Fujian Province, China. (Sometimes spelled Pai Mu Tan.)
- Gong Mei (Tribute Eyebrow): The third grade of white tea, the production uses leaves from the Xiao Bai or "small white" tea trees.
- Shou Mei (Noble, Long Life Eyebrow): A fruity, furry white tea that is a chaotic mix of tips and upper leaf, it has a stronger flavor than other white teas, similar to Oolong. It is the fourth grade of white tea and is plucked later than Bai Mu Dan hence the tea may be darker in color. From Fujian Province and Guangxi Province in China
- Ceylon White: A highly prized tea grown in Sri Lanka. The tea has a very light liquoring with notes of pine and honey and a golden coppery infusion.
- Darjeeling White: It has a delicate aroma and brews to a pale golden cup with a mellow taste and a hint of sweetness. A tea from Darjeeling, India.
- Assam White: White tea production in the Assam region is rare. A white Assam yields a refined infusion that is naturally sweet with a distinct malty character.
- White Puerh Tea: Harvested from plantations found high on remote mountain peaks of Yunnan Province, China. Incredibly labor intensive with each step processed by hand, these luxury whites are wonderfully rich in fragrance, and possess an alluring, sweet nectar-like quality.