10/9/2012 #1105 Tea and Tea
With the coming of that little chill in the air, we are altering our morning routine just a bit, and clearing out some space for an assortment of teas to enjoy. As a kid, Al only knew the Tetley tea bags his parents had on hand, and that was the extent of it. Today we know that there is tea, and then there is tea. And fortunately, we have a wide variety of choices.
All teas come from a single plant: the camellia sinensis. The tea world is divided into black, green and oolong. Black tea is fermented and very concentrated. Its flavors can last for months, if not years. It was the classic tea for export from China back in the 19th century. Oolong is produced by withering the tea leaves under hot sun, inducing oxidation, then twisting the leaves. Oolong is the tea of choice for connoisseurs, and has great subtlety. Green tea is made with the freshest tea leaves, and is minimally oxidized. It produces a very pale green tinted tea that has subtle, delicate flavors.
Jerry recommends that when you shop for tea, you not look for tea bags, but for loose tea. He also strongly suggests buying a "tea ball" or tea infuser for making a really good pot of tea.
Many popular teas are blends: Early Grey, English Breakfast, Darjeeling and Jasmine. Other more rare varieties include Ceylon Breakfast, Orange Pekoe, Gunpowder Green, Imperial Tea, Gyokuro, Lapsang Soucho, Keemun, and the very expensive Pouchong.