Had a very interesting trip to a Tea House this week. When in China and all that..........
Some of you may not know but my husband works for Twinings, and therefore all things tea are of interest to him. So a tea tasting was right up his street. We had done it before, but this time my daughter and her husband were with us. It is always good to to do these things more than once as you don't always take everything in.
A delightful young lady performed the ceremony for us.
With an array of teapots, small cups and a selection of teas all promising wonderful health properties she set to work. Never boiling the water, leaving it to infuse for a long time, and swirling and pouring finally ending up in small cups for us to taste. Dark teas, green teas, jasmine, lapsang souchong, oolong black to name but a few. Most were delicious but some a bit too medicinal for my taste.
One of the prettiest, but not not the tastiest came in the form of a tightly compressed flower and when covered in hot water it slowly unfurls into a beautiful flower before you eyes. This is a lovely thing to serve at a tea party, it will almost certainly entertain and wow your guests. Just have some heatproof glasses to hand.
One thing I found very interesting was that when making tea the first addition of the nearly boiling water is only to wash the leaves. It is poured over then away, and fresh water is then added to the leaves. After the infusion is complete it is then poured into tiny cups. The Chinese will always smell the tea before drinking. Much like we do with our wine.
It was a surprise to learn that the tea leaves can be used up to eight times depending on the quality of the tea. Not something you can do with a teabag! So although the tea seems very expensive it is not really when you work out the number of times it can be used.
And if the health properties are to be believed, and I am hoping so, then when next year I am a skinny person with all my organs in great condition with beautiful skin and the possibility of living to a very old age, then the cost will have been well worth it. Well one can hope!
So don't give up on the Twinings tea but do try some of the varieties you see on the shelves. I know we all tend to stick to our favourite, but as they say variety is the spice of life. You never know a cup of lapsang souchong or oolong might just become something you enjoy.