The making of tea
I am not a great one for traditional tea. Give me a bunch of herbs and spices and I will make you the most wonderful tea – to make you feel happy, energised, relaxed, quiet, calm or sleepy. Robust in taste or so so subtle. Unusual. Interesting. Teas to make you really say “Aaaahhhh…”.
I do like Jasmine Tea when I am eating Chinese or some other SE Asian foods. But in general I have never explored the world of teas.
When in Hong Kong, I did so love the tea ceremony experience in the real Tea Shops. The wooden tray with the underlying water trap. The pouring and pouring and pouring of water. The small cups, the instant serving – no long seeping of tea – the refilling and refilling and refilling.
Then there was the time several years before that when I was really ill in Hong Kong, and waiting in the airport I sat in a Tea Shop for over 2 hours, drinking a wonderful, rose petal based tea which settled my stomach and made the wait bearable. It was so special, I remember it still.
Oh, such experiences.
But they don’t translate well to our lives unfortunately. Try to have such gentle ceremonies of the drinking of unusual teas with friends – well, they think your weird to be using your and their time this way.
I hadn’t pursued it.
I stuck with my bunches of herbs and spices. Weird enough for my friends, but they love my teas.
But recently, I have been looking into tea balls and tea rolls (tiny balls each hand made), and white teas. The net is to blame of course. First one blog had some information (Karen Cheng, I think) and then another (was it Cook Almost Anything?), and then I saw some balls in my favourite coffee and tea shop, Cikolatte. And then there is the Teas web site. Finally, their wonderfully described white teas sent me to Cikolatte to buy some white tea – and I was converted.
If you look at the web site, there are quite a few varieties of white tea, all full of antioxident and other goodies, and they don’t taste at all like black tea. Oh yum.
Some of them are the wonderful little balls that open and reveal wonderful leaves when they are in your glass.
Some of them are leaves that float when they first hit the water, and then gradually expand and sink to the bottom.
And the best thing – you can just keep refilling your pot with water time after time after time. Want to refill it 20 times? Sure thing. So when I am working through the day, I can put 3 or 4 of the tiny tea balls directly into my cup, and refill all day. Heaven.
Here are the white teas that I have tried.
Oriental Pearl Drops Jasmine Tea
Jasmine Pearls are beautiful hand-rolled Jasmine scented tea pearls (small balls) made of Silver Needle young white tea leaves.
Jasmine Pearls are also known as Jasmine Dragon Pearls, Downy Pearls and Buddha Tears.
Watch the tea pearls slowly uncurled itself – beautiful to watch. A beautiful subtle and sweet tea. Use 4-6 pearls per cup. You can refill the pot 12 – 20 times.
Pai Mu Tan – White Peony
Also known as White Peony, Pai Mu Tan (Bai Mu Dan) is one of the most popular White teas. The leaf has a thin coat of white hair and the brew is light in colour with a slightly roasty taste. The tea is leafy, not in tiny balls (pearls). The leaves expand and sink after a few seconds in the water.
Lavender White Tea Balls
A delicate and tranquil white tea ball with the scent of lavender blossoms and violet flowers. It opens into wonderful flowers in hot water.
The Brewing of White Tea
White tea should be brewed with water just off the boil. Brewing time can be 2 – 5 minutes. The tea leaves can be used many times, or until the taste diminishes.
To reduce the caffeine content of white tea pour hot water over the tea, then throw away the infused water and then infuse the tea leaves again like a normal cup of white tea. White tea brews to a pale yellow colour, with a light but delicate sweet flavour.
- Veggie Terrain has a wonderful post on Teas in her Foodipedia.
- The Gluten Free Hippie has a wonderful recipe on Green Tea with Cashew Cream.