17 April 2011

Liquid lunch? There's a cupcake in my tea cup

While I love that more and more of us are recognizing the amazing health benefits of loose leaf tea, these leaves have some amazing natural flavours as well! As I gear up for my Mother's Day custom blending sessions where not only can you learn more about natural tea flavours like honey, hazelnut and plum, but you can work with me to create a personalised tea blend that suits your flavour palette, I thought I should talk a bit more about what good tea really tastes like! Recently I visited New Zealand’s only tea plantation, Zealong (I’ll be doing a series on how loose leaf tea is made soon!) and had the chance to taste some beautiful natural tea flavours. In fact, their Pure oolong tea tasted a bit like eating an orchid cupcake – check out my review on Teaviews. And it made me think about all of the great flavours tea has naturally, without having to add anything artificial. Now I’m not bagging out those of you who enjoy a cup of Blueberry Cheesecake, Tiramisu or Mexican Chilli (oh yes, these all exist!). It’s just worth noting all of the great flavours that can be achieved in loose leaf tea when you understand how to brew it properly and/or create a custom blend.

Firstly, white tea. Many of you probably think this has a thin and ‘barely there’ flavour right? Wrong. High-quality white tea when brewed properly should taste like honey or melon and has a decadent, velvety smooth texture. And there’s more…like oolong tea that tastes like hazelnut, black tea that has a lovely fruity apricot flavour and pu-erh tea which warms you up in winter with a unique plum taste. And if that doesn’t wet your appetite, custom blends using natural loose leaf tea and tisane (herb) flavours can also create unique tastes including everything from an After Dinner Chocolate Mint to Cherry Chocolate Chai. In fact, I recently tried a Taiwanese oolong tea that tasted like sucking on a sour lolly! Not a personal favourite, but definitely better for me than eating the real thing! Interested in learning more about tea’s natural flavours? I’ll be doing group tea tastings every Saturday beginning in May. But if you want to explore flavours sourced specific to your personal tastes, then a custom blending session where you can create your own loose leaf tea might be for you!