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Article: Camellia sinensis: January is hot tea month!: Tea lessons

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Forum: Article: Camellia sinensis: January is hot tea month!Replies: 3, Views: 5
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Municipality of Murr, PA

January 16, 2013
10:41 AM

Post #9387206

I have always loved tea from childhood and wanted to learn more about what it is and what the differences are. About 10 years ago a tea/coffee shop opened in our area and the owner wanted to promote her tea selection. So, through the local adult school she offered "tea classes" where the students would come to her shop and she would hold "tea tastings". She wrote up information on each type of tea, what to taste for, explained the differences, etc. I took the class with a couple of friends and it was not only a thorough educational experience, I now go to shops and confidently order exactly what I like and don't waste time/money on just buying a box because I don't know what is in it.

If you want to learn more, you can look it up on several sites on the Internet, but it is best to actually taste the teas because everyone's taste actually is different. Many cities have at least one place that offers loose and blended tea and/or coffee, perhaps it is also a sandwich or pastry shop. Ask the owners if they do "tea tastings", or maybe suggest that they try it to promote their tea selection. Tea is becoming much more popular as a casual and healthy drink.

In a "tea tasting", each type of tea to be sampled is brewed in the proper pot at the correct temperature for the proper time. The tasters have a cup full of water, an empty paper cup and their own tea cup. You rinse your mouth with the water and spit into the paper cup. Then you taste the tea thoroughly, swirling it around your mouth and holding it and letting the taste/scent sit in your mouth. Then you spit it out. You wait a minute or two, maybe write down your impressions or words that describe what you taste, and then try the next sample.
When we had sampled 6 different teas, we could choose two that we wanted to try with sweetener (honey, sugar, etc.) and/or whitener (the term for milk) and cookies. 6 more teas were tried at the next session so as not to overload the taste buds.

We have a "mixed marriage"; I prefer tea, Dear Husband prefers coffee.


Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

January 16, 2013
2:49 PM

Post #9387476

Sounds delicious, or delightful! My husband was THE BEST at making tea just exactly how I liked it, even though that kept changing. I switched to coffee because my meds were so sedating; I couldn't drink enough tea to caffeinate myself. Now DH is THE BEST at making coffee for me. The killer is, he doesn't drink any hot beverage, maybe once a year Swiss Miss (yuck) but certainly not tea or coffee. I'd like to start liking tea again.
Municipality of Murr, PA

January 21, 2013
4:45 PM

Post #9392839

I also liked that in your article you showed what the Camellia sinensis blossoms look like. Somehow, the tea sites neglect to show the actual plant in bloom. I know that they have no scent, but are the blossoms used for the hot beverage? Or is there some reason why they are not used?
I hope you can add tea back into your life, I'm sure that by learning about it and tasting it you can find something to your liking. Try "flowering teas" tea and herb combinations that open from a ball or bullet shape into a floating "flower" in hot water. (They commonly use chrysanthemums in this type of tea, as well!) Pretty and tasty!
And don't forget iced tea!


Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

January 21, 2013
6:58 PM

Post #9392969

Now I do like iced tea, quite a bit, in fact! (Not sweet tea, just plain, brewed then iced tea.) And that's useful because while I really only like my own whole bean, ground that morning coffee (and can't drink more than one cup a day, with my 2012 med schedule), I'll drink anybody's iced tea. Even bottled (reconstituted, brewed last year) or powdered tastes ok to me now. It's really not convenient to be so much of a taste/flavor snob as I am.

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