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TEA – is it the new coffee

November 27, 2014

A Cup of Tea

When the world is all at odds, and the mind is all at sea,
Then cease the useless tedium, and brew a cup of tea.
There is magic in its fragrance. There is solace in its taste,
The laden moments vanish somewhere into space,

And the world becomes a lovely thing! There’s beauty as you see,
All because you briefly stopped to have a cup of tea.

Author Unknown

The Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter

I never used to drink tea. For many years coffee – no milk or sugar – was my staple drink and I actually thought I didn’t like tea. However, since I finished full time work and began to go to various groups for bread making, quilting etc I’ve found the reliability of a mug of tea tends to be better than the quality of the coffee!

We also enjoy traditional afternoon teas and they really aren’t the same without a pot of tea – coffee doesn’t pair well with that indulgence.

Having started to take more of an interest in tea it seems I’ve been lucky that there is an upsurge by a lot of companies and individuals doing the same. Taking part in a tea tasting panel at the NW Food Lovers Festival also inspired me to try more.

I was recently sent some new Tetley products to try and a lot of information about the history and development of tea. Tetley introduced tea bags to the UK back in the 1950s was the first to use perforated tissue for its bags in the 1960s, and in the 1980s launched the first round tea bag. Today, a staggering 36 million cups of Tetley are drunk each day.

I’ve been pinning a lot of information on Pinterest about tea in the hope I’ll retain some of the knowledge but it would take a long time to learn it all!

There’s a lot of information below about tasting terms but if you can give it a read through there’s a question at the end and an opportunity for you to receive some Tetley products to try from the new range.

TEA TASTING TERMS

Assam: a black tea grown in the Northeast of India. Assam is a strong, full-bodied tea with a rich and robust flavour, considered by many tea lovers to be a perfect invigorating tea for the morning. Often used in blends because of its strong taste.

Aroma: an important consideration in brewing teas is the smell that is given off. A favourable aroma is most often associated with a flavourful taste.

Black tea: the most commonly consumed tea in the world. Black is one of the three major types of tea, the others being Green and Oolong.

Biscuity: a desirable trait usually referring to a well fired Assam.

Bite: a very brisk and “alive” tea liquor.

Bloom: a sign of good tea picking and sorting (where reduction of leaf has taken place before firing), a ‘sheen’ that has not been lost through over-handling or over-sorting.

Blend: a mixture of teas from several different origins blended together to achieve a certain flavour profile.

Body: describes tea liquid possessing fullness and strength.

Brisk: describes a lively taste as opposed to a flat or soft tea.

Chai: a blend of black tea with various spices and steamed milk, commonly drunk in India.

Character: an attractive taste, describing teas grown at high altitude.

Coloury: indicates depth of colour and strength.

Dull: tea liquid not clear or bright in colour

Dust: a term that is used to describe the smallest particles of tea leaf.

Fine: teas of exceptional quality and flavor.

Flat: a tea that is not fresh. Tea tends to lose its characteristics and taste with age, unlike some wines that mature with age.

Green tea: tea that undergoes minimal processing and most resembles the original green leaf.

Hard: a desirable quality suggesting pungency, particularly applied to Assam teas.

Harsh: refers to a tea bitter in taste – a possible result from picking (plucking) tea before it is ready.

Jasmine: a green tea to which Jasmine flowers are added.

Leaf: a tea where the leaf tends to be on the large or longish size.

Malty: desirable character in some Assam teas. A full, bright tea with a malty taste.

Metallic: an undesirable trait , leaving a metallic taste in the mouth.

Nose: a term used to connote a good aroma of tea.

Plain: describes teas that are clean and innocuous but lacking character.

Powdery: ‘fine, light dust’ as the tea people say, meaning a very fine, light leaf particle.

Pungent: describes a tea liquid with a marked briskness and an astringent effect on the palate without a bitterness.

Sparkle: clarity and purity of colour, from grey to pure colour.

Toasty: a tea that has been slightly over fired during processing. It may be a desirable characteristic in some Darjeeling teas.

Woody: a characteristic reminiscent of freshly cut timber. This trait is usually associated with teas processed very late in the season.

Zing: overall quality impression of the tea on the palete; the balance of character and taste in the tea.

Coincidentally there was an article in the newspaper this week about one of their highly regarded tea tasters – if you didn’t see it then read it here Tetley tea taster joins the realms of the superstars

I admit I haven’t taken to Green Tea before but I do enjoy the fruit flavoured green teas so if you’ve not tried them I thoroughly recommend them. We are back to brewing in a tea pot – it really does seem to make a better cup of tea. The new Tetley Extra Strong is popular with my husband and son who both like a “proper” cup of tea. It’s a tea designed to give you a lift whatever time of day you need it.

Tetley Extra Strong

Tetley Extra Strong

Tetley have provided a good description of their teas and suitable pairings. If you’d like to learn more their informative piece is available here – Be Inspired

In addition they’ve done a great guide about tea blending so if you’re getting passionate about your tea you might like to read more here – The Art of a Tea Blending

So now for the QUESTION! In which country is Assam Tea grown? If you know the answer email realfoodfans@btinternet.com and one lucky person will be picked on Friday December 5th and announced on here. Good luck.

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