Tea: a beverage made from pouring hot water over cured leaves of the tea plant
My thoughts have turned to tea this Friday, thanks to a recent online chat with +Amy Pabalan. Now that Daylight Savings has made the evenings darker, I’m looking forward to a cup of the steaming beverage. Tea comes from an evergreen plant, camellia sinensis. The top 1-2 inches of the plant are picked and used to brew tea. Tea can range in color from white to black, depending on how long the leaves are left to oxidize prior to drying them (the less time, the lighter the hue).
The best way to drink tea is by brewing a teapot. Whole leaves often hold more flavor than those in teabags (although I like the latter for convenience). It has been said that you should rinse the tea leaves by boiling the first batch of tea leaves, throwing out that water, and then using a fresh infusion for drinking.
Here are my top three favorite teas:
1. Dragon Well (Long Jing) tea- a complex, pan-fried green tea. It’s produced near the West Lake in Zhejiang Province, China. It’s supposed to give off a subtly sweet taste with a chestnut flavor and was granted the status of “imperial tea” during the Qing dynasty. Dragon Well is supposed to contain high level of antioxidants, helping to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, among other benefits.
2. Gok Boh tea- a blend of pu-ehr and chrysanthemum leaves. This is favorite beverage of mine when eating dim sum. If you’re lucky, you can see an actual chrysanthemum flower floating around in your teapot. The tea is a deep amber color with a smooth flavor and is popular in Hong Kong restaurants. Gok Boh is supposed to cool internal heat and help digest oily food.
3. Jasmine (Mut Lei) tea- a scented tea that gets its aroma from jasmine blossoms. I love both the flavor and the smell of this beverage. Usually, green tea is used as a base for this drink. The jasmine flowers are picked in the late afternoons while their petals are tightly closed. When evening comes and the flowers being to open, they are added to the tea. The process takes over four hours to add the scent to the tea–and may need to be repeated. Some studies have shown that jasmine may prevent cancer, and the relaxing scent often aids in sleep.