Camellia Sinensis

Tea- glorious tea.  This weekend I went to a lovely tea tasting put on by Slow Food Chicago at Sweet Cakes Bakery. We sampled 6 different teas; a white (Silver Needle), Green (Jade Cloud), Oolong (Amber Dragon), Black (China Breakfast & Golden Needle) and Pu-erh.  Wally who is part of Slow Food also works for Rishi Tea and gave us a background on the history of tea and how it is produced. The reason I picked this tea tasting is that Rishi is considered “organic” and “fair trade.”

To me, nothing is more soothing and calming than a beautiful cup of tea.  Having worked in a tea shop 12 years ago, I learned that not all teas brew the same.  And readers, if you have never tried loose leaf tea, you are missing out on a real experience.  Most black teas are brewed at 195 degree.  (Basically, take the water of the heat right before it boils) and green tea is brewed at 175 degrees.  It’s all a matter of preference but your loose leaf tea should steep anywhere from 3-5 minutes.  A rule of thumb is basically 1 tsp. of tea to 6 oz. of water. Really nice tea leaves, can be brewed up to three times.

My favorite tea is called Pu-erh in cake form. The first time I tried it was at an out of the ordinary tea shop in Tampa.  The young lady, Kim, who owned the store has a passion for tea like none I’ve seen. It was here, that I first tried pu-erh.  Kim is all about building a community of friends around a pot of tea.  I loved her philosophy and want to thank her for bringing out the Pu-erh.  She traveled to this tea farm and spoke to the women who own/runs it.  The story won’t do it justice here on this blog. There was something about being in that little tea shop, sipping the tea and hearing about where it came from that really moved me, plus it was the best cup of  tea I ever had.  This particular tea is from the Jing Mai Mountain region.  The company is called Lancang Ancient Tea Company.

(Pictures of pu-erh are from their website).


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