Monday, January 11, 2010
IT'S TEA TIME!!
There’s nothing like a nice warm cup of soothing tea to help you fall back and unwind. Or maybe tea as a warm pick-me-up in the morning. Either way you like it, I’m sure that many of you are aware of how drinking teas can aid in the ongoing battle of the bulge and increase the body's immunity to colds and flu. This information is not new. However, did you all know that January is National Hot Tea Month?! Wow! I wonder how many years this has been in effect cause I most certainly have been unaware of it.
Anyhoo, this fact caught my attention not only because I have an over-flowing shelf full of teas but because of the frickin’ cold temps we’ve been having. I’ve talked w/a number of people who’ve been blasting there heaters and are still freezin’. Myself included. I figure this to be the perfect time to really indulge in my teas and help me to warm up.
But get this… I had no idea that there’s a certain way you should blend your teas. Uh huh. That’s another thing that I’ve learned.
Here are some tips from master tea blender, Dave DeCandia of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, a family-run specialty company selling coffee beans, rare teas, and accessories.
• Water temperature: Never use boiling water to make tea. Boiling water will only burn the tea leaves and diminish the flavor. The ideal temperature is between 185 and 190 degrees. If you’ve let the kettle start to boil let the water sit for 30 seconds so the water cools slightly.
• Amount of tea: Use one tea bag per 1-2 cups of water or for loose tea use one teaspoon of tea leaves for every cup. Never reuse a tea bag – the flavor will have been used in the first cup.
• Steeping: Exactly how long you should steep your tea depends on the type of tea; however, most teas begin tasting bitter after seven minutes of steeping. Steep green tea for about three minutes, oolong and black teas for about five minutes and herbal teas for about seven minutes. Remove the tea bag immediately after use to avoid burning the leaves – this will make the tea taste bitter. Remember that tea bags take less time to brew than loose tea leaves.
• Strength: Some people like strong tea. My motto for strong tea is, “Add more tea, not time.” Steeping the tea for more time will only reduce the flavor, not increase the strength.
• Additions: When adding both lemon and sugar, add the sugar first. If the lemon is added first the citric acid will prevent the sugar from dissolving. I wonder if this applies to natural sugar substitutes like stevia, agave nectar or honey. Hmmm?.. Cream should not be added to tea as it interferes with the taste but personal preferences varies.
Cheers , my dears!