Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Continuing Tea Conversations

An afternoon tea can be a sugar/caffeine high but I might add a lot of fun spending it with friends. Setting a table with fine china and silver loaded with lots of decadent treats and mini sandwiches is pure bliss on an autumn afternoon. Even some of my guests were brave souls to don a hat.
Since I last wrote the tea blog one reader passed along an interesting website you might want to check out. It explores the tea party lifestyle and its traditions. I was won over with the tea party game:Fairy Stars Race!
I would also like to add more information I recently came across concerning the basic types of tea that are derived from India, China and hybrid teas. Some sources list three types: black, green and oolong and then I found another source that added a fourth type white tea.
All tea comes from the evergreen tea bush called Camellia Sinensis. The following terms only describe tea leaves after they are harvested from the tea bush and are processed for consumption.
Types of Tea
Green tea
Oxidization is a chemical reaction that takes place when tea leaves are picked and begin to wither and die. Green tea is not allowed to oxidize and is quickly dehydrated for storage. Green tea is made from rolled leaves and not buds. Studies have shown there are many health benefits to drinking this type of tea.
Black tea
This tea is allowed to oxidize which ripens the leaves to create a deep robust flavor. It is the most popular tea world wide, but it does not have as many antioxidants as other types of tea. It contains the most caffeine.
White tea
This tea is the rarest, least processed and most expensive. It is picked before leaf buds are fully open. The buds are quickly air dried. It's taste can be very grassy at times.
Oolong tea
This tea is somewhere between green and black tea in the amount of time tea leaves are allowed to oxidize. The leaves cannot be broken or crushed and under go a process called bruising.

All this talk about tea reminded me of a favorite children's book Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk I enjoyed using in the classroom. The pictures in this book are stunning. And then thinking about this book made me wish I had some young ladies/gentleman who would like to have their own little tea party with me. I even found some interesting resources online just in case this occasion should arise. One resource is a book called A Little Book of Manners, Courtesy and Kindness for Young Ladies by Emilie Barnes. And two other books by Michal Sparks Princes Tea Parties Royal Gatherings for Little Ladies and My Very First Tea Party looked like fun reads.
Who would have ever thought one three letter word tea could have so many possibilities!

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