Over a Teacup - Tea on Tuesday
Last week I went with a friend and took a tea class. It was in a wonderful new little gift shop in Broadway, Va called Julieanna's.
Susan Teter, who is the tea mistress of Over a Teacup, held an evening class complete with tea tasting. It was about the origin of tea, the different types of tea and their brewing guidelines. The tea of the discussion was from the Camellia Sinensis plant, which is naturally caffeinated.
Among the subjects covered were: how long will tea last, tea and caffeine, how is tea flavored, the history of tea, and the difference between loose leaf tea (the preferred) and commercial teabag tea.
Did you know that tea is made up of the the top plucked leaves?- the bud and two top leaves of a branch.
Each of the different types of tea are the way they are due to their method of processing after being picked.
There is black tea, green tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea, white tea, and flavored tea.
Too much to go over in one post - but I will tell you today what I learned about black tea- and more on the others in future Tuesday posts!!
Processing of black tea involves 4 steps: withering, rolling, fermenting and drying.
The plucked leaves (the bud and two top leaves, remember?) are spread out to wither, then they are rolled. This rolling releases the chemicals in the leaf that give it its color and taste. After this step, the rolled leaves are re spread to absorb oxygen (this is called oxidizing). This turns the leaves from green to reddish. Now the leaves can be fired to stop the fermentation - which turns the leaf black. It now has its familiar tea scent.
The next class Susan will hold is on the teas of India, and after that, there may even be a "proper" tea party!!! We learned the difference (and the origin of) between high tea and low tea- but I will save that for next week!!!
Here are some pix of the evening- including one showing the tea leaves' dance of agony(shown here in a clear glass coffee press)- that is when the leaves twirl and float in the hot water while steeping.When described that way, it almost makes me feel guilty drinking the tea!!!!
Julieanna's has monthly tea tastings, and sells all manner of teas and tea related goodies, along with beautifully crafted jewelry, purses and antiques!!I just love their window treatments too!!!:>)
Thanks for dropping in for tea, and please stop by Kimmie for a link to other Tea on Tuesdays!! Feel free to join us anytime!!!