Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Mom Turns 6-Tea

It may come as no surprise that my mother is a tea drinker and my stepfather a punster. So when my mom turned sixty, she was thrown a "6-Tea" party. The task of selecting which six teas of course fell to me. So of course I called Dave.

Together we decided on Shou Mei Classic White, Green Dew Gunpowder, Chrysanthamum Oolong, Keemun (black), and a few cakes of Yunnan Compressed Pu-Erh Tuo Cha, all from Upton. To mix things up I included one herbal, brewed from the needles of a Florida Slash Pine and harvested a few blocks from the house.

We decided to demonstrate the camelia sinensis spectrum, going from white to black. In fact those were the two most commonly requested teas: Shou Mei and Keemun. I'm guessing that's because black and white tea are the most and least familiar, respectively.

I was more surprised by which teas where who's favorite. One of my mom's friends liked the pine best, and one of her friend's teenage daughters favorited the puehr. (And that was even after I described it as "cavey.")

As usual, my favorite was the oolong. The blend was so nicely done that you couldn't tell where tea stopped and flowers began. In other words, it was unlike many blends in that nothing stood out, the two elements being balanced in a compliment that went both ways. Yet it still tasted so much like oolong that I wouldn't have been shocked to learn that the chrysanthemum was just a colorful descriptor, as is often the case with oolongs anyway.

Here's a quick lowdown on everything else.

Shou Mei: pleasant, though extremely mild. There was a faint hint of citrus, but it may have been a trick of the mind as white teas are so commonly infused with citrus these days, probably to make them taste like something. Or maybe it was just because we were in Florida.

Green Dew Gunpowder: Good and aptly named, being as refreshing as green dew and as grounded as gunpowder. That doesn't actually make sense, but the tea was both light and earthy and that seemed like a convenient way to say so.

Keemun: I never drink black tea, but was surprised by how sharp and fresh this one tasted. It might make aficionados bristle to hear an adjective so commonly associated with the dregs of the industry, but it really was "brisk." (Note: if you go to one hyperlink today, go to that one.)

Pu-Erh Tuo Cha: Not as impressive as a puehr can be, but that wasn't the point. This was an easy intro for those who hadn't had a puehr before, which was everyone. Even though I brewed it lightly, many still wrinkled their noses and my mom described the bouqet as "fishy." Elise suggested the more palatable "marine."

In the end a good time was had by all, and everyone left much better equipped to think outside the bag.

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Anonymous said...

black tea taste great with cream and sugar.

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