Monday, April 9, 2012

Tea Chat at the Open Door Coffee House

 Tea happens to be something I REALLY like to talk about and drink.  So, I was invited by our local coffee house where I used to work, to give a 10-15 minute talk about the quick history of tea and about some of the teas that the coffee house was selling. Awesome!  So I  worked on condensing the immense info there is out there on tea (ahhhhh!) into ten minutes and still managed to produce three handouts which included a "fill-in the blanks" sheet.  Thankfully, no one looked too disturbed at all the papers being passed around.
Open Door Coffee House
So, on with the teaching!  After giving some quick history of how the Chinese were the first to discover tea, the differences between black, oolong, green and white teas, what herbals are, how much caffeine is in tea, where tea is grown, what tea varieties do they sell here, it was time for samples.  (Sorry, that was a major run-on sentence.)
Heidi, the assistant manager, made tea for everyone and the samples went all around.  This helped so much when explaining the different flavors associated with the different teas.   
We started out with our Indian black tea, Ceylon and India.  Indian teas are primarily British Legacy Teas and are strong and assertive because they usually are processed and fermented quickly.  Think, espresso as compared to a regular cup of coffee.  These are the ones we mostly drink as Westerners and many Europeans.  I like them, but really love some of the Chinese black teas as they are smooth, with cocoa tones and don't need the addition of milk and sugar.  
The Japanese Green Sencha tea is very grassy and vegetal.  Brewing up to a bright green, it's definitely not your average bag of tea!  Very refreshing, slightly astringent and great hot or iced, a new favorite for me!
Finally, we got to our Rooibos tea.  The "tea" (it's actually an herbal), from South Africa is one of my big time favorites.  I drink it by the pound as it has superb health benefits, including its vitamin and mineral content.  It also contains some alpha hydroxy which is good for the skin.  I usually drink it flavored with natural vanilla and it's great iced or hot.  

Ceylon and India, Rooibos and Japanese Green Sencha teas

All in all, it was a fun time, and we all learned a little bit more about tea. It's a great drink, good for you and good tasting.  Life always seems to be a bit better with a cup of tea... 

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