Archive for Japanese tea

fresh teas! [for teaholics]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2022 by xi'an

Here are some new teas I sampled this summer, when visiting a few tea shops here (Paris) and there (Montréal):

  • Yakushima black tea, a subtle Japanese tea from a producer of sencha on this far-south subtropical island off Kyushu
  • Dong Ding oolong, named after the mountain in Taiwan where these tea bushes grow, also most subtle
  • Jejudo green tea, from Jeju island, Korea
  • Wakocha Zarai tea, again from Kuyshu, wakocha meaning black tea in Japanese, although the colour is almost red, surprisingly sweet
  • Dattan sobacha,  a grilled buckwheat (soba!) tea from Hokkaido, with the added perk of eating the buckwheat afterwards!
  • Sannenbancha, a dark light Japanese tea roasted over cedar wood, tasting (obviously) woody and vaguely licorice, sannen meaning three years in Japanese, as the bush is left to grow for three years before leave and [mostly] stems are collected. (Actually the full name of this tea is kuki sannen bancha, with kuki meaning twig).

on [not] making tea

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2021 by xi'an

By chance, when looking for information on the film that usually appears on top of tea brews (!), I came upon this highly ranked blog entry of a security expert explaining how not to make tea. Which did not seem completely right in my tea-oholic eyes..! Not that the following rambling is of any relevance whatsoever!

On the agreement side, it is indeed hard to get decent tea in most places, the primary reason being a lack of understanding that very hot water is needed. The worst being these cafés where they bring you a cup of (definitely not hot) water with a tea bag on the side! I used to travel with my own kettle to avoid this issue, but I am striving to carry as little stuff as possible and hence gave up on that habit. Instead, I often take a thermos bottle that contains an infuser: all that is needed is hot water!

On the disagreement side, the obvious resolution of most complaints about poor quality tea, “herbal teas” that are not tea, tea bags in general, &tc., is to carry your own loose tea. It is light and keeps well and cannot disappoint. And can be brewed several times, especially oolongs. The section about milk is beyond discussion as tea with milk is another beverage altogether. I certainly enjoy drinking duh-wali-chai  in India and am even making some at home from time to time, but otherwise I stopped putting milk in my tea during the first COVID lockdown. (Which also considerably simplified my tea consumption when travelling: all that is needed is hot water!) The main issue is however in using boiling water. Which is almost never recommended for brewing tea! Especially green and Darjeeling teas. Instead of using water above 90⁰, one should stay below 90⁰… Especially when running several brews. Not only this keeps the bitterness under control but it avoids loosing oxygen and CO² contained in the water.

As an aside, this film/sheen is the result of “an interfacial reaction of polyphenols and other components in the tea that bond with ions in the water”.

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