December is here and the weather calls for warming favors….consider….
~ALL ABOUT TEA~ and…The Perfect Pot Of Course~
by-Bea Kunz-owner of “Sage Hill Farms”….a Sustainable farming project dedicated to the growing, processing, and education of herbs for TEA and other culinary fare.
Taking Tea…….In this ever increasing health concious world,В the afternoon cocktail is being replaced with a variation of the British “tea-time.”
At home and in hotels, cafe’s ,and other establishments across the country, TEA is becoming the accepted drink of choice. Taking tea is a time to wind down, relax, and spend quality time with friends, family, or just to treat ourself to a delicious “me” time.
Taking Tea is a celebration of an earlier time that has found a re-entry into our most modern way of life.
Do You Know?
All tea comes from the same source, the differences in processing accounts for much of the variety.
The original tea plant, “Camellia Sinensis” is native to Southern China and has been around for thousands of years. An off-spring of this plant is where most of todays tea derives from.
Tea is a natural source of Amino Acid.
So…how do we decide which tea is better and better for us.
First we decide if we are consuming it for taste/pleasure ,or for health reasons.
Say we are choosing a tea for our health…and don’t want the caffeine-then we are looking for an herbal “Tisane” that is the term given to teas without any “tea” leaves.
Tisanes are made from the leaf , root,В berry, flower, or barkВ of a plant or tree other than the tea plant.
Blends are herbals that have been mixed with a tea leaf.
(Example) Earl Grey is black tea blended with Bergamot.
Tisane is an English word derived from the Greek word (ptisane) a drink made from Pearl Barley.
Tisanes are made by steeping the chosen blend in very hot to boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes.
( for medicinal purpose, the longer you steep an herbal Tisane, the more benefit you get.)
Whereas other teas require a longer processing time and then water is added to the final brew to weaken and relieve some of the bitter/strong taste.
It really all comes down to a very personal like or dislike, as with most things we must find our perfect fit.
Black tea is steeped longer than green.
The longer it is steeped the more likely it will become bitter.
When brewing Black tea ,bring the water just to a boil, remove from heat and steep for about 7 minutes.
Green tea should be added to water that has been removed from the heat just before it boils and then sits for a few minutes.
Steeping time is about 5 minutes, less if you prefere.
Caffeine is highly water soluble, so it is the first constituents of the leaf to be extracted in the steeping process. 80% or more of the tea’s caffeine content is released within the first 20 to 30 seconds of steeping time.
To de-caf- your own tea, simply discard the first 20 to 30 seconds of tea and add that amount of water back to the pot and start again. Using a filter works best for this process.
White tea is becoming rather popular among people in the know about tea.
White tea’s are minimally processed.
It is generally air dried and slightly oxidized.
The highest quality White teas are picked before the leaf buds have opened, while they are still covered with silky white hairs. (hence the name-White tea)
White tea should be steeped in water well below the boiling point and for no more than 3 to 4 minutes.
White tea is exceptional to blend with herbal Tisanes.
~THE CELEBRATION of- and with TEA~
Family meals, weddings, celebrations of any kind can be planned around TEA.
There are the simplist and the most refined of tea accessories.
The earlist tea drinkers , the Chinese, did not use teapots.
They boiled the leaves in kettle-like containers.
By the eighth century the Chinese drank tea from blue-glazed cups, and their tea accoutrements started to resemble twentieth century china.
The first European cups were made in the manner of handleless Chinese teacups. Tea was brewed in the cup and sipped from the saucer.
By the nineteenth century the tea service has evolved into what we have today.
Todays options are a mass infusion of age-old designs and innovative new shapes.
Find your favorite and it will become a cherished and lifelong friend.