See Rock City

See Rock City

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter Is For Hot Tea

Whether it’s full-bodied English Breakfast or soothing chamomile, nothing beats a mug of fresh-steeped tea. Discover the many types and tastes, learn about the tools every tea-sipper should have and get unique ideas for the world’s second most consumed beverage (after water).

Types of Tea

All tea leaves come from the same shrub (Camellia Sinensis), but flavors vary depending on fermentation time and added herbs and spices. Here are 7 noteworthy types:

Black: The strongest tea, it’s full-bodied and bold, ranging from smoky (Chinese) to fruity (Assam) and even spicy (Darjeeling).

Tip: Black tea is also the base of many blends, like bergamot-infused Earl Grey, spiced Chai and English Breakfast tea.

Green: Dried but not fermented, green tea is milder than black tea. Some are fresh and grassy (Japanese) and others floral and nutty (Chinese).

Oolong: More delicate than black yet stronger than green, oolong teas have complex flavors with hints of honey, tropical fruit or vanilla.

White: Distinguished by hand-picked and sun-dried leaves, white tea is subtly herbal with refined floral flavors.

While not technically tea, herbal teas—infusions made from the leaves, seeds, petals or roots of various plants—are worth trying. Find them next to the true teas:

Chamomile: The dried petals of a daisy-like plant, chamomile tea is fragrant, floral and perfect before bedtime.

Rooibos: From a shrub that only grows in South Africa, Rooibos is deep red in color, very sweet and slightly nutty.

Yerba Mate: A species of holly native to South America, it’s earthy, herbal and energy boosting.

Tip: To prepare the perfect cup, try the steeping tips in our article Tea Party Planning Tips and Recipes.

Must-Have Tea Tools

Kettle: Stovetop or electric, kettles are designed to heat water. We love electric kettles outfitted with temperature settings—we never have to worry about scalding fragile green, white and herbal teas.

Teapot: Perfect for sharing, teapots allow you to brew enough tea for two or more. And when they’re not in use, they double as décor!

Strainer: Loose tea produces more flavor than tea bags, and a mesh strainer makes it easy to steep. Or try a two-in-one teapot with a built-in strainer!

More Tea Ideas

Mix tea with flowers and citrus peel to create one-of-a-kind blends.

Add comforting sweetness to your cup of tea with homemade ginger-infused honey.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with our delicately spiced Chai Tea Cupcakes.

Try our modern take on the traditional English tea party.

Take tea outside of the kitchen—dye paper and fabric with it for an easy aged look.

Turn your tea bags into kitchen décor by clipping them to a clever clothespin wreath.

Repurpose empty tea tins as charming containers for jade plants.

Source: Internet