In the last few weeks I’ve developed a real fondness for tea, especially green tea. Up until now I would very very seldom touch the stuff and not without a fair amount of sugar to boot. Without sugar, it tasted so weak and bitter and bland. But I decided to give it another go, and it seems my tastes have now really changed, because I can’t get enough of the stuff. Hot, well-brewed tea is just divine.
Any other tea aficionados here (I know Jeff is one)?
I like green tea with jasmine, without sugar.
Being Bashkir, I also am really fond of black tea with milk, or even better with baked milk (milk, and then tea, not vice versa!!)
Sometimes I like to drink tea with lemon, or even with cranberries. In this case I put a teaspoon of honey.
But I don’t like flavoured tea at all. Raspberry, strawberry – brr! And the most awful tea is tea with bergamot. Drinking tea with bergamot is like drinking perfume, in my point of view :)))
At work I have my personal teapot (of course with Chinese unreadable characters) and a jar of green tea with jasmine. But I don’t brew tea every time I want to drink it. I brew it once a day… Although at home we drink only fresh-brewed tea.
Yeah green tea is actually so-called not for the appearance of the beverage, but the actual tea itself. Green tea, as Rasana showed in those pictures is actually a light golden colour.
I’m amazed at the number of health benefits that are supposedly associated with green tea. I read it’s in the top five healthiest beverages in the world, along with water (surprise, surprise) and a couple of rather intriguing-sounding Russian drinks. It’s certainly nice being able to enjoy the stuff while at the same time knowing it’s actually doing me some good!
That’s not to say I won’t from time to time enjoy the odd cappuccino…
In Austria we often call black tea “Russian tea” and people often like it with sugar and lemon. Many people also like flavoured tea. I don’t, except sometimes for Earl Grey (bergamot) or jasmine. Nowadays I usually drink black tea in winter because it keeps you warm and green tea in the warmer seasons for its cooling effect.
Actually I became a tea lover after I had visited England for the first time at the age of twelve! Every other pupil in my group said it tasted like dishwater. I decided that I would like it, with milk and no sugar. As years went by I tried many different types of tea: green tea with mint, like the North Africans have it, green Chinese tea, even some Japanese teas - but I don’t think what we get here is the same stuff you see in documentaries about the tea ceremony in Japan.
As for the “master of tea”, George Orwell, thank you, Chris for this interesting article. An older master of tea, Japanese at that, by the name of Okakura Kakuzo, wrote a book called “The Book of Tea” in 1906. It was published in English in 1956 and a few years ago I bought a reprint. It’s about the history of tea in China and Japan and its link to Zen.
The first chapter “The Cup of Humanity” starts like this: “Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. In China, in the eighth century, it entered the realm of poetry as one of the polite amusements. The fifteenth century saw Japan ennoble it into a religion of aestheticism - Teaism. Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence.”
When I was last in Bavaria I bought a Green Tea called “8 treasures of the Shaolin” - a sniff of the leaves is enough to make one feel blissful! I grew up on Friesentee, black with or without Kandiszucker (sugar crystals on a string) and I absolutely hate the English breakfast tea with milk. N’er a drop shall pass my lips! I do like a civilised cup of Earl Grey, though.
Several days ago, I studied a lesson by Marianne on Chinese tea:
The text makes reference to what the Empereur Kien-long (Qianlong Emperor 乾隆) had to say about how to drink tea properly:
«Mettre sur un feu modéré un vase à trois pieds dont la couleur et la forme indiquent de longs services, le remplir d’une eau limpide de neige fondue, faire chauffer cette eau jusqu’au degré qui suffit pour blanchir le poisson et rougir le crabe, la verser aussitôt dans une tasse faite de terre de yué, sur les feuilles d’un thé choisi, l’y laisser en repos jusqu’à ce que les vapeurs, qui s’élèvent d’abord en abondance et forment des nuages épais, viennent à s’affaiblir peu à peu et ne sont plus que de légers brouillards sur la superficie; humer alors sans précipitation cette liqueur délicieuse, c’est travailler à écarter les cinq sujets d’inquiétude qui viennent ordinairement nous assaillir. On peut goûter, on peut sentir; mais on ne saurait exprimer cette douce tranquillité dont on est redevable à une boisson ainsi préparée.»
I don’t know the original Chinese text. Here’s an English translation I’ve managed to find:
But place upon a gentle fire the tripod whose color and form tell of a far antiquity, and fill it with water of molten snow. Let it seethe till it would be hot enough to whiten a fish, or to redden a crab. Then pour it into a cup made from the earth of yue, upon the tender leaves of a selected tea-tree. Let it rest till the mists which rise above have formed themselves into thicker clouds, and until these have gradually ceased to weigh upon the surface, and at last float in their vapor. Then sip deliberately the delicious liquor. It will drive away all the five causes of disquietude which may come to trouble us. You may taste, and you may feel, but never can you express in words or song that sweet tranquility we draw from the essence thus prepared.
At the moment talking I 've got 7 kinds of tea in my cupboard:
Lady Grey golden tea with citrus infusions, Mint with spices (my favorite), Hibiscus, Jasmine green tea, Blackcurrant-Ginseng-Vanilla, Chamomile, Peppermint & Eucalyptus
I am a tea fanatic… I ll have tea at least 5 times a day, usually without sugar or half spoon brown sugar, sometimes honey and if I m ill with some lemon. I HATE milk in my tea, it takes away all the nice smell.
Also I like black tea with a stick of cinnamon and a dash of cognac.
When I 'm in Greece I bye fresh herb tea from the mountains from local sellers. It has the most incredible smell, nothing to do with the supermarket tea.
I 've had Japanese tea once, from a canadian girl who traveled in Japan and she brought green tea with all the stuff they use to prepare it. It was different than what I have taste before but I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic. But maybe I need to taste it more times to understand its whole flavor.