Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Tea - My Drink Of Choice

Did you know that every day Australians consume more than 22 million cups of tea?

Some days I feel like I drink enough to justify buying shares in a tea plantation, between 4-8 cups a day, and I have to admit that I love it.  In our house you will find between 20 - 30 different types of tea, I suspect that almost makes me a tea addict.

Tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis bush which is an evergreen shrub which can live for over 100 years.  The tea comes from the top two leaves and the bud which are usually picked by hand and skilled tea pickers can pick between 30 - 35 kg of tea a day.

Tea comes in 4 main types:

Black - Black tea is the most common type of tea and is made by withering the leaf then it is cut, torn or curled then fully fermented followed by drying.
White - White tea the least processed and is a selection of the youngest freshest leaves and buds that are dried. White tea has a mellow subtle flavour.
Green - Green Tea is an un-fermented tea where the oxidation has been stopped with the application of heat.  It is made from the fresh leaf which is steamed or baked  then cut, curled or torn before drying.Green tea is pale in colour  and has a light astringent taste.
Oolong - Oolong is somewhere between Green and Black tea.  It is withered then tumbled or rolled  then is partly fermented and dried.  Oolong has a distinct coppery colour and a delicate flavour that is sweet and fruity.

Then there are all the other teas made from herbs, spices, seeds berries and other plants like Rooibos and Yerba Mate.

Around the world different cultures enjoy their tea in different ways.  In India Chai is a very strong black tea flavoured with spices, milk and sugar.  In Tibet tea is churned with yak butter and in Russia tea is flavoured with lemon and in Morocco tea is often flavoured with mint.

Both Black and Green Teas are rich in natural flavonoides and when served without milk or sugar has virtually no calories.  Tea should be stored in a cool dark place in tightly sealed containers so that it does not pick up up odours from other foods.

Did you know tea bags were created by accident?  Apparently in the early 1900's an American tea merchant decided to send out his tea in silk bags and one of his customers just dunked the whole bag in hot water and a new concept was born.

This is how I like to brew tea for one.
The leaves get to float around and it is easier than a teapot.

So how do you make the perfect brew?  Well I am sure everyone has their own method but here is what I recommend.

Make sure the water is cold and fresh never water in the kettle that has already been boiled or your tea will taste flat.
Use a teapot or one of the little mesh inserts for you cup or a tea ball.  The more your tea leaves can move about the better.
Heat your cup or tea pot then add your tea leaves/tea bag and pour the boiling water straight from the kettle as soon as it boils.
Leave your tea to brew for 3 - 5 minutes (longer and it gets bitter, less and you will miss out on some flavour)
Add milk, lemon or sweetener as you like and enjoy.

I love the tea that comes from The Tea Centre and my favourite teas are some of the blended black teas.  My 3 favourites are Ritz Carlton, Sir John and Stockholm blend but there are others that I also enjoy on a regular basis.

How do you like your tea?
Do you have a favourite flavour or brand?


  1. Interesting post Fiona. More of a coffee girl myself but i stock teas for friends and i occasionally have one. Black tea is my preference with nothing added.

  2. Well this is certainly the weather for tea drinking, we have gone from sweltering to chilly in one hit.
    I once saw an interview with the head of Twinnings and he said Never make your tea in a metal pot, always use crockery, pottery, ceramic etc. It makes a real difference.
    He said he was sorry for everyone who treasured their Silver teapots, but they just don't make the best tea .
    So I am looking for a ceramic mug insert and will retire my metal infuser one.
    Thanks for sharing your favorite teas, I will give them a try as we have a good tea shop up here on the mountain.


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