When the first hot days of spring hit, a sweating glass of cold iced tea sounds splendid, tastes terrific, and wets my whistle. My brother, Tom, has never liked coffee like I do (more about coffees this month), but he loves tea, collects special varieties, and is quick to remind me that good water is crucial to the best tasting tea (and coffee). As the second-most popular beverage in the world behind water, tea has brewed up some fans. Here is a small kettle of information on tea terminology:
Cambric tea: weak tea infusion with large proportions of milk and sugar.
Chai: Indian term for tea, often short for masala chai or spiced tea made from strong black tea, milk, sugar, and spices.
Earl grey: black tea with bergamot, an orange-flavored oil.
Herbal teas: not technically tea, leaves and flowers from plants. like hibiscus or mint are placed in hot water to create a beverage; contains no caffeine or sugar.
Lapsang souchong: Chinese black tea fired over pinewood for a smoky aroma and flavor.
Oolong tea: lightly fermented tea using larger leaves, known for its rich taste and lasting aftertastes.
Tisane: herbal tea or teas produced from the leaves of plants other than the tea plant.
Books about tea you might want to check out:
Herbal Tea Gardens, by Marietta Marshall Marsin – 25 plans for enjoyment and well being.
Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn, by Jane Whitaker – a social history of the tea room craze in America.
The Tea Companion, by Jane Pettigrew – a history andguidebook.
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