A very merry Christmas to all!
Archive for December, 2011
With the holiday season coming upon us, I am going to take a little break from blogging. So, this will be my last blog for 2011 (holiday posts excluded). In the meantime, how about you answer a quick question for me! What is your favorite tea?
See you next year!
A very happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends!
A handy source for this holiday:
I personally tried blooming tea (also known as flowering tea) a few years ago while attending Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa. My friends and I frequented a local cafe which sold a whole variety of teas. Needless to say, I was in heaven. Then I noticed they had two teas labeled as “blooming teas.” It sounded interesting and unique, so I bought a pot.
To my surprise, the barista came to my table with a glass tea-pot that contained this green ball at the bottom, seeping out tea. It was slightly confusing. Why was this called blooming tea? It honestly didn’t look all that appetizing. Then, I saw how this tea got its name. While I don’t have footage from that day, I did find a generous amount of Youtube videos that will be able to explain blooming tea better than I could:
Blooming tea is when a flower bloom is wrapped up into a collection of tea leaves. Once steeped in hot water, the tea leaves will open and allow the flower to literally bloom in the tea-pot, mug, cup, whatever setting you decide to put this artwork into. Tea leaves are stitched together using cotton thread, a dried flower sewn into the center. Any type of tea can be used to encompass the flower and any flower can be used (though chrysanthemum, jasmine, rose, magnolia, lily, hibiscus, osmanthus, carnation, peony and globe amaranth are the most commonly used), so you can get a variety of tastes, scents and shows.
Blooming tea is a relatively new venture in tea production. Produced in the 1980s in China, it was originally known as display tea. Over the last decade, blooming teas gained popularity in Canada, Europe, Asia and America. It is not typically found for commercial use, though some restaurants and cafés are starting to discover the beauty and benefits of the tea.
Just as most teas, blooming teas are known to reduce stress. Both the visual appeal and the natural properties of the tea help to aid this. However, health benefits will vary depending on the tea that you select.
Because of this, the caffeine content will also vary, so be careful if you do have caffeine sensitivity. They are normally not decaffeinated but do have less caffeine than a normal cup of coffee. It is also easy to forget that there are flowers inside this tea, so if you do have a pollen allergy, please be aware! This tea is not for you!
While not technically its own classification of a “tea,” blooming tea deserves a category of its own. Visually appealing and just as tasty, sippers will get a tea that will stimulate all senses.
Virginia Tech is sadly experiencing another tragedy today. If you know anyone in the immediate area of Richmond, Virginia, please tell them to stay indoors and be safe.
Virginia Tech is posting information on their website at http://www.vt.edu/. Please pass this information along to keep everyone safe.
Oolong tea, also known as wu long tea (translated to mean “black Dragon”), is mostly recognized as the tea served in many Chinese restaurants.
It is unknown exactly when oolong tea was created, though historical records do indicate that it was first grown in the Fujian Province of Taiwan, where it is still grown today. This region is known to be sub-tropical, warm and humid, which is perfect for oolong!
Not even the name has an exact root. It is possible that is named after a place name or a variety of tea plant, or maybe the lucky symbolism of a dragon.
What is certain, on the other hand, is the production of the tea. Oolong tea is made from the same type of leaf as black and green teas. However, they are fermented for different amounts of time. They must be processed immediately upon being picked. First, they are withered in the direct sunlight and then shaken to lightly bruise the edges of the leaves. Next, they are air-dried in the shade until the leaves turn a light yellow. This process is repeated several times.
Oxidizing takes different lengths of time depending on the type of oolong. Leaves are pan fried at a high temperature in order to prevent further oxidation. They now have less moisture and thus a longer shelf life than green teas. Finally, they are graded, packaged and sold to our favorite stores.
Oolong tea can have 15-50 mg of caffeine content in it, so it has 18.75% – 62.5% the amount of caffeine of a cup of coffee. In other words, if you are sensitive to caffeine, avoid this tea. A water temperature of 150-160 degrees is ideal. Green oolong teas should only be brewed for 2-3 minutes, while dark oolong teas should be brewed for a bit longer. 3-5 minutes usually is enough to do the trick. If you brew the tea for longer, you will increase the caffeine content of the tea, so be careful of this.
If you have had tea in a Chinese food restaurant, you know what this tea tastes like. If not, it has a sort of bitter taste to it with sweet undertones. It can be appealing to some and is a popular tea, but first timers might be best with a bit of honey or sugar.
Though not too much is certain about oolong tea, it is certain that it is one amazing tea!