Did I mention I gave up tea for Lent. Not just tea, but all beverages except water...but it is the tea I miss. I admit...I crave it. Not just the caffeine, although I am also used to the little boost the shot of caffeine can give you. But the tasty tea itself.
Did you know that tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, except water.
"Tea is the most popular drink in the world in terms of consumption. Its consumption equals all other manufactured drinks in the world — including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol — put together. “All tea, all the various types of tea, come from the same plant, leaves of Camellia sinensis. With some minor variations, the newly picked leaves are all the same. The major differences between the types is determined by how it is processed once it is picked.
"Leaves of Camellia sinensis soon begin to wilt and oxidize, if not dried quickly after picking. The leaves turn progressively darker as their chlorophyll breaks down and tannins are released. This process, enzymatic oxidation, is called fermentation in the tea industry, although it is not a true fermentation. It is not caused by micro-organisms, and is not an anaerobic process. The next step in processing is to stop oxidation at a predetermined stage by heating, which deactivates the enzymes responsible. With black tea, this step is executed simultaneously with drying. “I am most fond of black tea, although on occasion I will drink green. Not as an everyday tea...no, that would be black. Maybe an Earl Grey, which is a black tea flavored with the rind of the bergamot orange. At work, I usually use tea bags for convenience. Granted tea bags from Ireland, Barry's Irish Breakfast tea, not some nasty Lipton. At home, I usually brew the tea from loose leaves. here is a picture of a few loose teas from my 'collection'.The little pellets, in the front left, are gunpowder tea, green tea from the Guangdong province of China. Gunpowder tea, as the name implies, is made up of leaves hand-rolled into tiny pellets. These resemble gunpowder, and give this tea its distinct name.
“Tea is traditionally classified based on the techniques with which it is produced and processed.
White tea: Wilted and unoxidized
Yellow tea: Unwilted and unoxidized, but allowed to yellow
Green tea: Unwilted and unoxidized
Oolong: Wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized
Black tea: Wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized
Post-fermented tea: Green tea that has been allowed to ferment"
Then, going clockwise in the picture, the larger balls are black dragon pearls.Hailing from the Yunnan province, this black tea version of the popular Dragon Pearl is naturally sweet and smooth with a touch of earthiness. Comprised of only the highest quality leaves and buds, expertly rolled into a large pearl-like shape.
The more curly leaves are xue ya ballad, an early spring harvest green with fruit-like, mellow sweetness with a delicate yellow cup color, and last, the straight leaves are kai hua crescendo, one of the top ten most famous teas in China, its name meaning "Dragon Peak", with lovely orchid notes and a light bodied, semi-sweet character. Or so Adagio teas, form which they can says.
And then last, in the front, are some ordinary black tea leaves, this one and Irish Breakfast blend.
I rarely order tea when I am out because Americans do not know, or care to know, how to brew tea. First, for black tea, the water must be boiling, not the less than boiling tea they get from the coffee maker. If it is not boiling many of the tastes are not extracted. But then they use such nasty tea bags it might be best. No, when out I usually order coffee..or nothing.
I was straightening out my various boxes and cans of tea the other day. I admit, I took of the lid of a can or two and sniffed them. If you are curious, here are the teas in the boxes and cans in the pics.
Oh, they smell so nice.
This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.