Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hot Tea Vs. Iced Tea

Because the season comes so early in my part of the world, I've been drinking iced tea for a while now. One of the things I've noticed is that a tea I don't like much hot can be quite nice if it's chilled.

Most recently I found this to be the case with a loose-leaf English Breakfast blend I got from the bulk bin at a local natural food store. Served hot, it bordered on undrinkable. After I chilled it, it was surprisingly good. Ditto for the Ceylon I picked up at the same place. I have yet to run across a Ceylon I like to drink hot, but this one worked out okay in iced form.

On the herbal front, I have to admit that I've never been bowled over by rooibos, at least not when it's served hot. As an iced tea, I drink quite a lot of it everyday.

Of course, a tea that is good hot might also make a good iced tea. For example, there's Archer Farms (Target's store brand) Golden Breakfast, a surprisingly yummy loose-leaf Yunnan. Served hot, it's good most of the time, but in iced form it's almost always a winner.

As you can see, the bulk of my efforts have been focused on the more robust teas thus far. I have yet to really experiment with iced white, oolong or green, though I've had a few commercially made ones of these that were unsweetened and were very good.

The moral of the story, at least for me, is that if you're not really in love with a hot tea, try drinking it cold before getting rid of it or letting it drift to the back of the tea cabinet.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Meaning of Tea, Boston Tea Party Tea & More

If you haven't seen the quite fine tea documentary, All In This Tea, you should give it a look. If you have seen it and you're craving more, check out The Meaning of Tea, another documentary film about tea.

Have you ever wondered what kind of tea was unceremniously dumped during the Boston Tea Party? Bruce Richardson was commissioned by The National Archives to come up with an approximation of that tea. More info here.

Here's a story about some people who had their priorities straight - or maybe not. Apparently at one point British disaster planners were concerned that a nuclear attack might leave the nation short on tea. As if the giant ants and lizards running amok wouldn't be enough of a problem.

This is an older one but you might have missed it, as I did. From NPR, it's "the story of a man driven temporarily insane from drinking too much jasmine tea." I hate when that happens.

Last up is a miracle of modern technology - or maybe not. It's a tea (or coffee, one assumes) cup whose contents can be stirred without using a spoon. Because we all know how dreadfully complex and inconvenient spoons can be. More here.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Charleston Tea Plantation Hosts First Flush Festival

Explore America's Only Tea Garden During the First Flush of the Year
(from a press release)

Bigelow Tea's Charleston Tea Plantation welcomes guests to celebrate the arrival of the spring season with their Annual "First Flush" event, a day dedicated to the entrance of the 2008 crop harvest. Taking place on May 17, 2008 on Wadmalaw Island, the 2nd annual First Flush Festival will offer a full day of excitement and revelry.

Throughout the day, the "Tea Trolley" will take visitors on a special route and provide an informative and enlightening "First Flush Tour." Attendees can also observe the process of making tea in the on-site factory.

In addition to the plantation tours, food, live music and games, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase their very own supply of Charleston Tea Plantation's 2008First Flush Loose Tea. At an extremely limited availability, the First Flush Tea - produced only with tea leaves from the very first spring growth on the tea plants - has a unique taste of its own.

Tickets for the festival will be sold prior to the event at the Gift Shoppe for $8.00. On the day of the event, tickets will be $10.00 at the gate. For more details regarding the First Flush Festival, please call 1-843-559-0383 or visit the Bigelow Web site.

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