When it comes to tea, I have very limited knowledge. Aside from the fact that I use commercial tea with honey and lemon when I feel weak and a bit under the weather. I also make my own herbal tea, using turmeric, honey and lemon. I also tried my hand in serving my family healthy tea, again... using commercial tea, brown sugar or honey, instead of the usual unhealthy-aspartame-filled instant sweet tea.
So you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to the Chinese Tea Appreciation Session, given by Ms. Rocel Valeroso-Leoncio of DulceTierra Tea Station. It was an intimate affair. But in the 4-hour sesh I learned a lot about Tea.
Ms. Rocel is a Certified Tea Master and Affiliate Trainer of the International Tea Masters Association (ITMA). She took the ITMA Course in Hawaii in 2014. She trained in tea production in Hawaii and in Yunnan, China.
WHAT IS TRUE TEA?
True tea comes Camellia Sinensis, a species of evergreen shrub or small flowering tree that can grow to a height of 50ft. The leaves and buds are harvested and used for tea. Not because a beverage i labeled as tea and prepared the way as you would a tea, you can call it TEA. If it doesn't come from Camellia Sinensis, then is is called a TISANE or herbal infusion, or simply an infusion.
THE TEA SETTING:
We were welcomed by Ms. Rocel to a very elegant chinese tea setting. Check out the delicate tea essentials below:
For brewing, we used the ceramic tea pot. Why? Clay teapots can improve depth, flavor, body or the sweet aftertaste of tea, but since it is porous, you usually pair a pot with a single type of tea. The flavor, over time, is left in the porous material. It is also important to have a thermometer to get the ideal water temperature and a timer. Temperature and time are essential to tea brewing.
READY TO BREW:
Ms. Rocel promised that each of us will be able to experience how to brew. But she needs to show us how it is done. Watch the video and see how delicately she handles the tea for that perfect brew!
MRS.WISE BREWING EXPERIENCE:
I have to admit, I was nervous doing it. I was afraid I will spill the hot water :) But on my 2nd attempt, I already built the confidence, and yes... I am enjoying the brewing experience. I can't wait to share it with my hubby, who loves to drink tea :)
DIFFERENT KINDS OF TEA:
1. GREEN TEA: aids in weight loss. We steeped it for 40 seconds at 160F. Result: mild aromatic flavor. When we increased the steeping time to 55 seconds at same temperature, it developed a more tangy taste. Green tea are not recommended to be taken in on an empty stomach.
2. Oolong Tea - aids in weight loss. Boosts metabolism. Lowers blood pressure. Has anti-aging benefits. We steeped it at 200F for 30 seconds and produced a smoky/woody taste. Then we increased steeping time to 35 seconds, and produced a slight bitter taste.
3. BLACK TEA - low in caffeine and great for circulation and for the heart. We used the buds for this. We steeped it for 35 seconds at 200F. The color turned darker when we increased steeping time to 40 seconds.
4. WHITE TEA - good for the skin. We steeped it for 180F at 30 seconds. I liked its sweet taste. When we increased steeping time to 40 seconds, it developed an astringent flavor.
This is the tea that I brewed.
5. PUER TEA - ha anti-aging benefits. Controls diabetes. Removes toxins, reduces inflammation, improves eyesight. It also aids in digestion and weight loss. We steeped it for 200F at 30 seconds, then increased it to 40 seconds. I observed that the taste did not change. This is the tea perfect to drink after consuming fatty foods.
6. WILD SCHISANDRA - this is an interesting tea. It is said to be "adaptogenic" - it gives your body what it actually needs. If you are stressed out, then it will relax you. If you are sleepy, it will perk you up. Interesting right? It ha 5 berries with different flavors. We steeped it at 200F for 45 seconds. It has a sour-like taste. It also cleanses the liver.
Overall I liked the green and white tea. I felt relaxed and calm after drinking it. With desserts, the oolong tea is the perfect tea for me.
- tea like coffee has caffeine
- if you want to consume really healthy tea, be sure to choose something that is organically produced
- in tea brewing, learning to experiment with temperature and time adds up to the whole tea experience
- tea brewing and drinking is best experience with families and friends. it is perfect if you want to chat and bond with your loved ones
- its time to skip the flavored tea. different authentic teas should be experienced with closed eyes, smell the leaves, sip a little, let it stay in your mouth for the experience and reflect on what it does to your body.
- commercial tea bags can be used for 2 times. true tea leaves can be used for up to 7 times.
Tea brewing and drinking is not about the taste. Its about the experience. Savoring it with all of your senses. It was a one-of-a-kind experience. Now I can bring home the experience. Thank you to Ms. Rocel for giving me this handmade stoneware Tea for one Set by Lanelle Abueva-Fernando. Its non toxic and designed to make brewing loose leaf tea easy and fun.
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