How do we brew the perfect cup of tea? George Orwell published an article in the London Evening Standard in 1946 titled ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ in which he discusses his rules for brewing a perfect cup. This article, however brilliantly written it may be, does not cater to all the different types of teas.
Now, if you are like me and really serious about your tea here is an excellent graphic that Teavana put together and I could not have done a better job myself. As you can see each tea is sensitive to different temperatures. White and green teas tend to be on the cooler side whereas Rooibos and herbal teas need hotter temperatures. The reason why I chose this graphic from Teavana’s website is that not only does it show steep times, it also shows caffeine content and how much tea leaves to put in per 8oz cup. Some of you might be thinking whether this is just too much effort and just let the kettle boil and pour in the water. Well to you guys I would say try at least once, you might be pleasantly surprised by the difference! Just a few tips, you can either sit there with a thermometer in your water to get the required temperature or you can get an electric kettle that allows you to set the require temperature (Technology is amazing, right?). Also, these steeping times are recommended but if you’re like me and prefer stronger teas you can adjust the steeping times to accommodate your taste buds. Lastly, tea leaves can be used more than once! Higher quality tea leaves taste will improve on the 2nd or 3rd brews.
The other day after gorging on the free samples at Trader Joe’s I noticed this beautifully designed tea tin and thought I’d give it a go. I busted out my teapot when I got home and made myself a healthy serving of the loose leaf tea. Pouring out the tea I first noticed is that the lemongrass scent is more overpowering than the coconut. Tasting the tea had the same effect. This tea is very bitter and I couldn’t really taste the ginger either which is the reason why I wouldn’t purchase this product again. Also, if you’re hoping for a strong coconut taste then this tea probably isn’t for you either. Look out for my other reviews!
1 ½ tsp Rooibos tea leaves
½ tsp Natural vanilla essence or fresh vanilla bean pod
1 inch Cinnamon stick
Brew time is 5-10 minutes
If you are gifting to a friend who doesn’t have a teapot or a tea ball then these tea bags are a great idea. I made some little tabs for each type of tea just to complete the overall look.
For the more cultured of your friends you can give your loose leaf blends in these little mason jars. You can ask for them back with the promise you’ll fill them with more tea!
In a previous post I listed the 5 types of tea that we are more likely to come into contact with on a daily basis. From this post I missed out teas not made from the Camellia Sinensis plant and also the more rare types of tea. In this post I will be filling in most of the gaps!
This tea is not of the Camellia Sinensis plant. It is from the South African Red Bush or Aspalathus Linearis plant. The leaves are oxidized which makes the leaves red (Unoxidized red bush is called green rooibos). Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine free and usually are the dessert type teas
This is a very high quality tea and one of the rarest teas in the world. Processed in the same way as green tea but dried slower giving it a more yellow tone. This tea is from China and was often served to the imperial court. Due to the rarity of this tea it has a very steep price!
Blooming teas are actually white tea leaves wrapped around a dried flower and made into a bulb. When they are steeped the bulb expands and unfurls in a process that emulates a blooming flower. These bulbs can be used a few times. The flower inside can be a range of flowers such as marigold, jasmine, lily etc.
This tea is made from Ilex Paraguariensis, a holly type plant that is cultivated in South America. Most of the mate tea typically comes from Argentina and the process of making the tea is that branches of the plant are dried. It has a strong bitter taste like coffee and is a very high caffeine tea. It is often used a substitute for coffee.
So I hope I have enlightened some of you on the more unusual types of tea! Please let me know if you come across a type of tea I have not listed. I am interested to know what other types are out there!
Photo is not my own! My skills aren’t that good, so here is the link where you can find the photo: http://raincure.com/product/20-flower-blooming-tea-balls/
Price: $14.98 for 2oz
So this is my first review! Every now and then I will buy and try different tea blends for inspiration. Whilst passing Teavana I noticed the huge posters for Oprah Chai Tea and I thought I’d investigate. They had a sample brewing so I thought I’d give it a whirl. This chai has a lot of kick compared to others I have tried and I absolutely loved it. So I strolled to the counter to purchase a couple ounces… wow, this tea is expensive! However, a portion of this ridiculous price is going towards charities so I guess I can’t complain too much. So, if you like spicy chai tea (like me) then you’ll love this bold beautifully smelling chai. The rooibos blended with black tea and the addition of carob pieces and chicory root really adds to the flavor.
Chai tea originated in India but recently has become more and more popular around the world. This aromatic blend of spices with black tea is one of my favorite drinks and here’s a recipe for you to follow along with:
1 ½ tsp Black tea leaves
¼ tsp Aniseed
½ tsp Whole peppercorns
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
1 ½ tsp Cloves
3 Green Cardamom pods
2-3 slices Dried Ginger
Brew for 3-4 minutes or to taste!
Note: I recommend using a lighter black tea such as Darjeeling this is because Assam will mask the taste of the rest of the flavors in the blend. You can also mix it up with Rooibos tea and add other ingredients such as carob and cacao nibs to give it more sweetness. I’m open to comments and recommendations so if anyone adds anything different and find it works let me know!