Note: Originally posted Friday, May 13, 2011
In the past few years, drinking tea has become a sort of budding interest of mine. I find it’s a great way to end the day, hot or cold. In particular I’ve been sampling dozens of varieties of loose leaf teas, which I get from a local spice shop. One of many things I seem to collect over time, but now I’m going to try reviewing each tea as I drink it. Hopefully they will serve to introduce others to the wonderful world of teas or at least suggest some new varieties.
My procedure for making tea is generally about the same every time, but I tweak it from time to time. As a general rule, I use a small mesh tea baller, filled up with a teaspoon or so of leaf. I place the tea baller into the cup I plan to use. I bring water to an “almost” boil in a lidded pan, and then quickly pour it over the baller until the cup is about full (the level will decrease when it’s removed). I let it steep for 3.5 minutes depending on the variety and desired strength, then remove the baller, shaking as much of the tea out of it as possible. Then stir in sugar and optionally add milk or cream to taste. I don’t think there’s a better way to make tea, but who knows 🙂
On to the first review…
Cinnamon Orange Spice
Texture: Coarse black tea leaves with presumably pieces of orange peel and the bark of some unknown plant
Scent: Mild spiciness with a hint of citrus zest
Steeped: At least 3.5 minutes in mesh ball
Appearance: Rich brownish-red hue
Taste: Quite mild but pleasant, not too acidic
Additions: Sugar recommended, but not required as the taste is pleasant enough. Milk or cream dilutes the flavor so much that you can hardly taste it (certainly an option but you may want to steep the tea longer).
This tea combines two flavors which I adore: cinnamon and orange. For some reason the earthy bitterness of cinnamon combined with the tart citrus of orange are complementary. Here, neither is overdone and it’s a very subtle tea which can be enjoyed by itself or with a meal. I find the flavor becomes slightly more intense as it sits and cools, so this would probably make an excellent cold tea as well.