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As you watch a beautiful Japanese tea ceremony, you realize that tea is more than just a beverage to this culture. Tea culture in Japan is an almost religious act and many people who strive to create a perfect tea ceremony mention the Zen like aspects of the tea ceremony.
While brewing and drinking a delicious cup of tea is important, there are several other aspects of the tea ceremony that should receive equal care and consideration. To set up a room so that you can hold a Japanese tea ceremony, you should:
When you think of tea, the first thing that comes to mind is the Queen of England. As you sip a morning cup of your favorite blend, you decide you want to learn more about how this country that is so small in size and so influential worldwide created such a love for this fabulous beverage. As you begin your research, you are shocked to discover that this passion for tea didn't start until Great Britain decided it wanted to own New York, which was a Dutch colony called New Amsterdam. Tea was very popular there and the combination of acquiring a colony of tea lovers and the rise of the English East India Company helped Britain's tea habit to really take off.
Drinking tea in England is still a popular pastime. British tea lovers usually drink their favorite black tea blends with a lot of milk and have plenty of high calorie treats to go with their beverages. Scones with clotted cream or biscuits are often served during the two traditional tea breaks, which are referred to as Elevenses and Afternoon Tea. For people who couldn't take an Afternoon Tea break at four o'clock, High Tea at six o'clock was once very popular. Today, most people simply have dinner instead of having High Tea, which included a fairly hearty assortment of food.
As you take a satisfying sip of your favorite Darjeeling tea blend, you feel all your stress and tiredness draining away. You sure are glad that someone decided to make this particular tea blend, but you are a bit curious about the Indian tea recipe. How did India get into the tea trade?
When Great Britain conquered India, no one realized that one of the biggest exports would eventually be tea. However, a combination of the discovery of native tea plants and Great Britain's decision to stop the East India Company from having exclusive control over India's tea exportation made the company decide to pursue tea production in India. Eventually, someone decided to plant tea in Darjeeling, India and the meadowy taste of the Darjeeling tea blend was born.
To brew a cup of Darjeeling tea, you should heat your water to approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit and allow the tea leaves to steep for two minutes for a mild tea. If you prefer your tea to have a stronger taste, allow it to steep for three minutes.
Some people feel that Darjeeling should be enhanced with other flavors, as well. Adding lemon juice, orange juice, cloves, cinnamon and sugar to your tea will give you a delicious Darjeeling punch, but it does overpower the delicate taste of the tea. Adding honey and lemon is a good way to add more flavor to your tea without overpowering its taste.
If you visit Thailand and ask for some tea, someone may hand you a tea leaf and then pop one in his or her own mouth. This tradition of chewing a Miang tea leaf that is salted is enjoyed by many Thai people. However, there are other Thai tea recipes that are created in a more traditional fashion. If you want a refreshing beverage during your visit, you'll just have to clarify your request by asking for Cha Yen, which is a delicious Thai version of iced tea.
The traditional beverage uses a very cheap, very strong black tea grown in Thailand, but if you prefer a tea that isn't quite as strong, you can use your favorite black tea instead. Simply add another tea pouch to the pot and then brew the tea as you normally would. Then, add a cup of sugar to the pot of hot tea. Chill the tea and then pour it into cups filled with ice. Add about an inch of evaporated milk and enjoy a refreshing drink.
If you don't like the taste of your tea, you may want to try using half and half instead of evaporated milk to top off your glass.
As you take a sip of yet another wine at a local wine tasting, it occurs to you that, although you're enjoying sampling so many different wines, you'd be enjoying yourself even more if you were sitting at home with a cup of tea and some of your favorite imported British biscuits. Why not have fun with tea culture and throw a tea tasting event for your friends and family?
To throw a successful tea tasting party, you should:
Tea probably is not the first thing that springs to mind when you picture Russia. Boris and Natasha, borsht, vodka and a host of other things are associated with this large northern country, but few people think of tea. Yet, Russians began drinking tea in earnest in the 1700's and developed a specific Russian tea recipe that people in modern Russia still enjoy.
One popular Russian tea is the Russian Caravan. This tea blend should be steeped in 200 degree Fahrenheit water for approximately three minutes. To drink it in the traditional Russian manner, add a slice of lemon to the cup. Next, place a lump of sugar in your mouth, holding it in place with your teeth. Drink the tea, allowing the lemon and sugar to add flavor as the hot liquid flows over them.
For an authentic Russian tea brewing experience, you'll need to brew tea leaves in a very small amount of water for at least five minutes to form a special concentrate called tea essence. The essence can be steeped for as long as 24 hours. A spoonful of the concentrated is then placed in a glass and hot water, which has been boiled in a samovar, is added to the glass to create a finished cup of tea.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|