Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE TEA!! If you don't know me, you'll learn that I love to share what I know about tea, and I love giving tea to my friends as gifts or just sharing a cup. On Tuesdays, we'll share all things tea--tea knowledge, tea brewing tips, tea ware, tea history, tea poetry,...tea, cha, and more te. There are many more spellings and pronunciations for tea than just the last 3 by the way. Every country has its own.
Sit back now then, brew a 'cuppa', and join me while the tea-cha talks tea.
I've been hearing lately that the reason that more people don't enjoy green or white tea is because it's simply not tasty. They say that they've really tried to get into this supposedly "new" tea craze, but they just can't because, well...it just tastes downright watery! Who wants that?!! There are usually 3 reasons why people who have given up on drinking green or white tea, give it up. Usually there is too much water for the amount of loose or bagged tea you're making, whether one puts too much water in the cup on their own, or unknowledgeable tea packaging or processing companies put generic directions on the labeling that they think works for any kind of tea. Another possible reason is that the quality of the tea leaf (or "dustings" usually) is below average to poor, thereby rendering a really tasteless cup. There can be other really good reasons, like too short a steeping time also. These reasons can make the most determined tea seeker and newcomer to the world of tea seek something else to refresh themselves. I can't blame them. But don't give up!! There are solutions, ones that I think will make you happy and return to the wonderful world of tea consumption.
Although there are lots of companies and countries that produce great green tea, pure, loose-leaf, Japanese green tea delivers a really hearty, robust, unique taste in my opinion. The quality of tea really matters for taste and all teas are not created equal. If you don't believe me, try doing a taste test one day of different green teas from different areas, loose and bagged and you'll see for yourself. If you choose Japanese green tea for taste and strength, follow the directions for the amount of tea for a cup, the temperature of the water, and the amount of water to use. If you do, it promises to deliver. Steep only as directed. While it is not difficult to brew, following directions makes the difference between a weak cup, a scorched taste, a pungent (not ideal) cup, or the perfect cup. Don't be intimidated. With simple directions and your own discerning taste, you will soon be able to brew the perfect cup in your sleep if necessary:)!!
One more thing that can transform your cup of tea from boring to brilliant is the kind of sugar you use. While regular, refined white sugar is perfectly fine, raw sugar is better. In my humble opinion, it can literally transform, as I just mentioned, your cup of tea (or coffee for that matter). Raw sugar can also be called turbinado or demerara. It just depends on where it was produced, but it is closely related or, in some cases, the same. Some packaging will have it labeled as brown sugar, but do not confuse this crystal-shaped, tawny brown, beautiful sugar with the brown sugar in plastic bags or boxes that we love to bake with. Raw sugar retains, during the minimal processing this sugar undergoes, its natural molasses. This is what gives it its beautiful color and unique taste. Make two cups of the same kind of tea. Place them side by side and add white sugar to one and raw sugar to the other and see won't you taste the difference. Raw sugar costs slightly more than white and, you will need to use a little more of it because it's not refined, but it is worth it, and..., unless you'll be drinking tea all day, it will last you a while and you'll get your money's worth.
Try these tips and some of you may change your mind about permanently writing this wonderful beverage off. Let me know what you think. BTW, I get a lot of my J. Greens imported, straight from a tea farm in Japan (when it fits in the budget since it's not a necessity:)--Lord help me keep that in mind:) ), so I'd like to extend a little contest to you. Anybody that would like to enter can do so by just responding to this post and letting me know. If you just want to comment and would not like to enter the contest, go ahead, leave me a message and also let me know that you're not interested in entering. Anyone interested will be eligible to win a genuine, imported bag of one of my favorite J. Greens (Japanese Green tea) called Sencha Superior. My J. Greens come from the wonderful Hibiki-an. I haven't found a better green, although there surely may be ones out there. I will send you brewing directions for the perfect cup. You just have to promise to let me know whether you like it or not.
See you on next Tuesday to the tune of tea. (I actually didn't get to finish this post until Wednesday morning, but we'll do better next time:))