January is National Tea Month. Here are some tips and info to raise your tea I.Q.
Owl in one of the Pooh books said, “Come along inside. We’ll see if tea and buns can make the world a better place.”
- China’s oldest wild tea-plant is a tree about 1700 years old growing in Yunnan Province.
- Oldest cultivated tree is over 800 years old
- Small leaf is in China (Camellia Sinensis Sinensis.)
- Large leaf tea comes from Assam (Camellia Assamica)
- Tea is harvested every week to 10 days for the duration of the growing season.
- Tea is to China what wine is to France.
- “Ten thousand” Chinese description of too many to count.
- “Ten thousand” teas their way of saying all of the tea in China.
- Six categories according to Chinese: green tea, white tea, yellow tea (unknown to westerners), black tea, dark black tea, and scented or floral tea.
- Green Teas are hard to keep “ has no keeping quality”- solution was to roll flat leaf into pellet shaped balls, Chinese name was Zhucha or pearl tea, rest of world calls it Gunpowder
- Gunpowder leaf is picked any time, not a tea of distinction.
- It is a favorite tea in Morocco and Middle East, served with mint and lots of sugar.
- Heavier than other tea, you need ½ the amount of dry leaf.
- Chinese black tea did not appear until after Ming Dynasty.
- Keemun is the finest black tea in the world.
- Yin Hao Jasmine is the top grade Jasmine tea.
- Jasmine Pearls have limited production “only hearts colder than children could fail to be enchanted.”
Try a fresh loose leaf tea sometime and taste the difference from the usual “bagged” tea.