Results tagged “tea” from kwc blog

Tea preparation

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According to my family, these are the important lessons in green tea preparation:

  • Use about 1 tablespoon of green tea
  • Never use boiling water or even water directly from a hot pot. My family often uses two tea pots: one to let the hot water cool down in and one for the tea.
  • When pouring tea for multiple people, never pour an entire cup at once. Keep pouring a little into each cup until they are full. Everyone will get better tea that way.
  • Good tea should be reusable multiple times. Some of the tea I got in Japan is rated for seven uses.
  • The tea should be a pleasant green color, not yellow. Yellow may mean that the tea has steeped too long or the tea is used up.
  • After the inital batch, you shouldn't have to wait for subsequent batches to steep. Pour a little into a tea cup and see how it looks. If looks too light, let it steep a little longer.
  • Tea has an expiration date but you can get past that by putting your tea in the refrigerator.

Tea, lots of tea, lots of tea tea tea

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teaI have returned from Japan with full suitcase. The suitcase was full because of the products pictured here: many packets of tea, multiple teapots, and a tea cup. I am a tea snob, expressing a strong desire for tea from the countryside near my grandma's home, and I've happily returned with much product to consume. It's also a medical necessity: I had a cup of hot green tea in front of me for nearly the entire ten days and I might go into frightful fits of withdrawal if I don't ween myself onto a more maintainable consumption cycle.

My Japanese has gotten a lot better over the past ten days. I'm now better conversationally than I was four years ago, though probably still not as good as I was about ten years ago. I'm still far from fluent. I was most comfortable conversationally when speaking to my eight-month-old cousin -- my shy three-year-old cousin ran verbal loops around me, leaving me too embarassed to continue speaking. I purchased a copy of The Wizard of Oz to translate but I've only managed six pages of partial translation in several hours of effort.

I credit much of my progress to Japanese: The Spoken Language by Jorden and Noda. I probably wouldn't have understood the textbook when I was studying in middle school, but despite it's strange romanization of Japanese characters I found that I understood the language constructs much better than before. However, my profession training has taken over the foreign language portion of my brain. I find that I'm comparing many of the language constructs to computer programming language constructs, with particles as defining transition states and verbs as stacks.

More later, but now back to clearing out my e-mail and blog reader.

Tea facts

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I was extolling the virtues of my green tea that mom gets for me from Japan and decided to do a little bit more tea research so that, like wine, I could put on snobby airs while talking over a cup.

All tea comes from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. While there are three main varieties of the plant in use, the differences in taste mostly relate to when the tea leaves are harvested, how they are fermented, the size of leaves used, and the environment in which the tea was grown. My preferred tea is shincha, a green tea with a name that translates as 'new tea.' Depending on the region, tea plants can be harvested multiple times per year. Shincha tea is produced from the very first pick of the year, which is considered the best pick because the buds have been absorbing nutrients throughout the winter.

  • Black tea: leaves are laid out to dry, macerated (soaked, softened, and rolled), fermented, then fired/dried to halt the fermentation. The rolling process encourages the release of chemicals for the fermentation process.
  • Green tea: leaves are laid out to dry, heated/steam for rolling, and dried. They are not allowed to ferment. In China, green teas are sometimes pan-fried and then rolled into various shapes such as twisted, flat, curly or balled. In Japan the leaves are steamed then rolled by hand or machine.
  • Oolong tea: leaves are laid out to dry, shaken or rolled to bruise the edges, and shade-dried. The shaking and drying steps are repeated multiple times and the leaves are then allowed to undergo a short fermentation process. The fermentation is less than that of black tea and can vary depending on the type of oolong.
  • White tea: leaf buds covered with silvery hairs are used to make white tea. The buds are steamed and dried, which results in buds with white fuzz.

Photos: Through the Looking Glass - Tea

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