Tea Maven Origin Story

A few years ago, I chose tea making as my chore for a weekend retreat (other choices were dishwashing, mopping, shower-scrubbing, etc. - it was an easy choice). I had to dash around before breakfast and at break-times so the tea would be ready and waiting for the 2 dozen other people there for the weekend.

First, run 2 or 3 gallons of water into a huge cookpot and fire up the foot-high bunsen burner under it. Duck out of the tea-making lean-to, cross the damp deck without slipping, and pass into the dining room. Check the 3 airpots: the pot of Irish Breakfast needs topping up, the pot of Earl Grey is completely empty, and the last pot is almost full - no takers for the Darjeeling this morning. Leave the Darjeeling for any urgent tea consumers (it's better than nothing) and take the other two back to the tea shed.

Inside the lean-to, the water is almost boiling. Take down the tea sieve (it's the size of a salad bowl) set it over the airpot, and measure Irish Breakfast and Earl Grey into two metal brewing pitchers. The water is boiling, so let's turn off the burner and grab the potholders. Pour into the pitchers, relax while it brews, pick out an herbal tea for the afternoon caffeine-phobes. Start a pot of spearmint brewing. Top off the Irish Breakfast pot, then trash the soggy leaves. Do the same with Earl Grey. Take out the 2 fresh pots, trade the Darjeeling for spearmint, done. My clothes are steamy from the lean-to when I rejoin the others, chores done.

By the third retreat of moving through this routine, I danced through it, and friendly Steve dubbed me the Tea Maven.

Here's my answer to Celestial Seasoning's famous armchair bear tea:

Dreams of Milarepa Tea
1/4 cup dried nettle herb
1/8 cup dried chamomile
1/8 cup dried spearmint
2 quarts water
Brew for 5-7 minutes, remove herb from water, pour into 2-quart airpot

Milarepa had many accomplishments, but only one requires the writer to suppress giggles: the feat of turning himself green by eating only boiled nettles.

A friend tells me that what I call black tea is called red tea in Chinese. I am intrigued - it seems that the Chinese name describes the brewed liquid in the cup, and the English name describes the dried leaves in the cargo ship's hold.

This isn't going to be a tea-themed blog (I hope) - I just picked my stickiest nickname. That said, this seems to be a tea post, so why not indulge in a quick desert island list?

1. Earl Grey, with milk and sugar of course. *
2. Kukicha (twig tea) **
3. Hojicha (roasted green tea) **

*Tazo has the best Earl Grey I've found. On the other hand, Twinings-of-America Earl Grey tastes alarmingly floral, and I threw out the last packet I purchased. OoOooh, I suddenly remembered Taylors of Harrogate - Yum! I haven't been in a store that carries this tea for 2 or 3 years. I wonder if the price has doubled to keep pace with the dollars-to-pounds exchange rate. *shudder*
**Green tea mostly makes me pucker, but roasting takes away the sour nastiness - these two are mellow and wonderful. Edensoy/Eden sells very good Japanese teas in the US.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?