What is Tea?

What is tea
Camellia Sinensis
Cup of Tea Bush

When offered a choice of tea, us Brits often instinctively ask for ‘normal’ – ie. black tea. However, in the few weeks since starting my mission, I have been amazed and impressed by the range and quality of teas on offer in London. I have enjoyed not only a lovely pot of ‘normal’ Yorkshire Tea, but also Assam, Ceylon O.P., Darjeeling, Monkey-picked Oolong, Jade Cloud Green tea, Japanese Cherry, Lapsang and more. The trend towards more interesting, loose leaf tea is apparent and most welcome.

Soo…a brief guide to tea may be helpful. Nothing too involved, (I don’t claim to an expert) rather a brief overview of what I am discovering. It may help you to pick a decent cuppa when given a choice, and perhaps encourage you to try something new.

There is an overwhelming amount of information online. Tea-geeks will tell you the very bush a tea comes from and the exact temperature and time for steeping. Fascinating stuff, but a bit exhausting, and not quite in the spirit of the English Way of Tea – which involves a bit of pottering, putting ones feet up and gazing out of the nearest window, with perhaps a nice biccie for a treat.

tea a (very) brief guide

Tea is the infused leaves of the Camellia Sinensis. The main types are Black, Oolong, Green and White. They are all made from the same plant, but differ depending on how the leaves are picked and processed.

In the same way that an infinite number of wines are made from the grape, so with tea, with variations depending on the region, climate, soil etc.. There are also blends (eg. English Breakfast) that give even more choice.

There are also ‘teas’ such as Chamomile, Mint and Rooibos which are strictly speaking infusions or tisanes, but delicious all the same.

Enough information for now. Time to put kettle on.
Look out for the next installment – Types of Tea.

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Invite your Friends for a Lovely Cup of Tea:

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2 Responses to What is Tea?

  1. Great post, Kitty – succinct! – but I especially LOVE the illustration. Does your tea palette extend beyond the cup and onto the canvas?

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