Many people around the world who love tea every day engage in the same ritual.
Grab a tea bag from a box, drop it into a cup and pour hot water over it. Wait until there is some uniform color appearing in the cup and pour some more ingredients into it like sugar, milk or a slice of lemon. Then take a sip and hope that this mixture will not be terrible.
Or sit in a plane and after the meal service the flight attendant will come around announcing the arrival of the tea (or coffee) to be poured into your little plastic cup.
And many of us who are attending a conference or workshop, grab a teabag from a ‘selection’ box and hope for the best.
This is the daily reality, mostly in the western world, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is a beverage you made for yourself, you like it, it comforts you, and so of course that’s good for you.
It is hard to believe that I have now been living almost one year in Myanmar. Time is really flying by! While my life at the moment is mostly focused on my mission with the World Food Programme and the well being of my family, I did experience pockets of tea life over the past year.
I know my blog has not been very active this past year, but that is about to change. Seeing the World Tea Expo happening in Las Vegas I felt a renewed commitment to be a more active part of the tea community. My passion for tea is as strong as ever and I need to share some of my observations more frequently.
Here are my Top 5 observations one year into my tea life in Myanmar:
1.) Tea is everywhere and a big part of life. I started taking it for granted that with every corner you turn, tea is part of the culture in so many aspects.This goes beyond the tea as a classic drink, but tea as part of food, cosmetics and sweets. I slowly built a life where tea is an essential part of it. I wake up in the morning and shower with green tea shower gel. I make it a special moment of my morning to pick a special tea for the day, which I will sip at work over and over. (More on this in a separate blog post.) I eat a wonderful pickled tea leaf salad and munch on green tea chocolate sticks and have a green tea desert for dinner. So many choices and little moments of tea joy in the day.
What is Cold Brew?
I have been receiving some queries from my tea friends on how to properly cold brew tea.
Personally I am a big fan of this tea brewing method as it gives you a unique tasting experience and you get to know a different, relaxed side of your favorite tea.
When you brew tea hot, over 400 different components are released into the water and some of them are released quicker at higher temperature. You will have noticed that if you brew a hot tea at a too high temperature or for too long it becomes bitter. Not so with cold brew tea, which will be more mellow, more balanced and sweeter as the high temperature components are less dominant.
Cold brewing gives you a whole new range of preparing tea. But you will need patience, as this is not your quick tea bag dunk for 2 minutes. Good cold brew tea will take several hours, if not even overnight to release the wonderful magic that is cold brew tea. Continue reading →
A big heated debate is currently running through the tea industry – what is a tea sommelier and how can these people compare themselves to highly skilled wine sommeliers?
As I am on the path to become a tea sommelier myself I thought it might be a good moment to add my five cents to this discussion.
In ancient times, the job of a sommelier (derived from the middle French “saumalier”) was to keep the provisions (food and drinks) of a royal house well-stocked. It also included tasting and taking sips of wine to ensure they are edible and not poisoned.
I would like to introduce you to the most basic ingredient of tea, often underestimated and most of the time unappreciated – Water, H2O.
It is a crucial element, 95 percent of the liquor and can have a major impact on the quality of the tea we will be drinking.
For that I would like to share an essay I prepared for one of my classes and give you a bit of background on the terminology of professional tea tasting.
I had a lot of fun with this assignment and it shook my core foundation when thinking about tea. I am currently developing a method of pairing waters with certain types of teas to achieve the best desirable outcome.
I also have some great ideas on how to present tea on a tea menu (How about: A 2014 Margrets Hope Spring Flush Darjeeling brewed in fresh Tuscan Spring Water and served in an Yixing clay bowl– Doesn’t that sound nice?)
I often get asked the question: Why do you like tea so much? I can best sum it up by looking at my tea past, present and future.
What will be next? My dream remains to attend my graduation ceremony at the World Tea Academy at the biggest event – the World Tea Expo! It will be held in June this year in Las Vegas and we hope to actually make it there.
Join me on my journey to become a Tea Master. (Image from http://storynory.com)
My educational journey will continue. I am also a member of the International Tea Masters Association (ITMA) and hope to become a Tea Master one day. Wish me luck and I am sure you will read all about it here on the blog.