The community education brochure announced a Tea Tasting class that nudged my curiosity. My interest was further enhanced by the site of the class, a local pastry shop, and the teacher, a woman I admire.I enrolled and arrived on a sunny wind-swept fall day to find six women gathered around a table set with plates, cups, and cutlery. Taking my place I listened to the teacher explain we would be tasting about 15 different kinds of tea and rating them. She described the qualities of black, green, and tisane teas, and we proceeded with the tasting accompanied by a scone, cookie, and chocolate truffle, each offered with an appropriate tea.
What a way to
spend an afternoon -
getting acquainted with other tea lovers,
introduced to new teas.
I learned about the areas of the world from which tea comes and the tea plant itself. The picking of leaf and bud influences the taste and quality as does the area, China, India, Ceylon, grown. I tasted red bush from Africa, the tea mentioned in No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. I confess it wasn't one of my favorites. Moonlight in Montana (the name was enough to make me like it) proved a favorite of the group. No doubt it was the truffle that added to its attraction.
The teacher talked about water, methods of heating water, and teapots. The microwave process takes all the pizzaz out of water, leaving tea flat. Leaving my tea bag in the cup forever is a no-no. Even the correct temperature for steeping (brewing is for beer! not tea) and the time needed varies with the variety of tea being used.
I left the shop with a box of tea bag papers and a canister of Earl Grey, promising myself to return often as varieties on sale change. I can recycle by tin canister at the shop.