How Do you take your tea?
Do you drink it straight? Do you drink it cold and sweet like they drink it in the south? Or do you drink it hot with milk, sugar, lemon, fruit jams or mint? Maybe you like to drink your tea in the afternoon with a splash of whisky or branky? What about milk-tea? All are very popular!
Adding Milk to Tea by:wikipedia the free encyclopedia
"The addition of milk to tea was first mentioned in 1680 by the epistolist Madame de Sévigné." Many teas are traditionally drunk with milk. These include Indian masala chai, and British tea blends." "These teas tend to be very hearty varieties which can be tasted through the milk, such as Assams, or the East Friesian blend." "Milk is thought to neutralize remaining tannins and reduce acidity." "The Chinese do not usually drink milk with tea (or indeed use milk at all) but the Manchurians do, and the elite of the Manchu Dynasty continued to do so." Hong Kong-style milk tea is based on British colonial habits.
The order of steps in preparing a cup of tea is a much-debated topic
"Some say that it is preferable to add the milk before the tea, as the high temperature of freshly brewed tea can denature the proteins found in fresh milk, similar to the change in taste of UHT milk, resulting in an inferior tasting beverage." "Others insist that it is better to add the milk after brewing the tea, as most teas need to be brewed as close to boiling as possible." "The addition of milk chills the beverage during the crucial brewing phase, meaning that the delicate flavor of a good tea cannot be fully appreciated." "By adding the milk afterwards, it is easier to dissolve sugar in the tea and also to ensure that the desired amount of milk is added, as the color of the tea can be observed."
- In Britain and some Commonwealth countries, the order in which the milk and the tea enter the cup is often considered an indicator of social class.
- Persons of working class background are supposedly more likely to add the milk first and pour the tea in afterwards, whereas persons of middle and upper class backgrounds are more likely to pour the tea in first and then add milk.
- Many in Britain believe the former to be a continuing practice from a time when porcelain (the only ceramic which could withstand boiling water) was only within the purchasing range of the rich - the less wealthy had access only to poor quality earthenware, which would crack unless milk was added first in order to lower the temperature of the tea as it was poured in.
- A 2007 study published in the European Heart Journal found that certain beneficial effects of tea may be lost through the addition of milk.
Many flavourings are added to varieties of tea during processing. Among the best known are Chinese Jasmine tea, with jasmine oil or flowers, the spices in Indian Masala chai and Earl Grey tea, which contains oil of bergamot. A great range of modern flavours have been added to these traditional ones.
Other popular additives to tea by the tea-brewer or drinker include sugar, honey, lemon (traditional in Russia), fruit jams, and mint." "In China sweetening tea was traditionally regarded as a feminine practice." "In colder regions such as Mongolia, Tibet and Nepal, butter is added to provide necessary calories. Tibetan butter tea contains rock salt and dre (yak) butter, which is then churned vigorously in a cylindrical vessel closely resembling a butter churn. The same may be said for salt tea, which is consumed in some cultures in the Hindu Kush region of northern Pakistan.
"Tea can also be fortified by the addition of alcohol, such as whisky or brandy."
The flavor of the tea can also be altered by pouring it from different heights, resulting in varying degrees of oxidization. The art of high-altitude pouring is used principally by people in Northern Africa (e.g. Morocco), but also in West Africa (e.g. Guinea, Mali, Senegal) and can positively alter the flavor of the tea, but it is more likely a technique to cool the beverage destined to be consumed immediately. In certain cultures the tea is given different names depending on the height it is poured form. In Mali, gunpowder tea is served in series of three, starting with the highest oxidization or strongest, unsweetened tea (cooked from fresh leaves), locally referred to as "bitter as death". Follows a second serving, where the same tea leaves are boiled again with some sugar added ("pleasant as life"), and a third one, where the same tea leaves are boiled for the third time with yet more sugar added ("sweet as love").
In Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia, the practice of pouring tea from a height has been refined further using black tea to which condensed milk is added, poured from a height from one cup to another several times in alternating fashion and in quick succession, to create a tea with entrapped air bubbles creating a frothy "head" in the cup. This beverage, teh tarik, literally, "pulled tea", has a creamier taste than flat milk tea and is extremely popular in the region. Tea pouring in Malaysia has been further developed into an art form in which a dance is done by people pouring tea from one container to another, which in any case takes skill and precision. The participants, each holding two containers, one full of tea, pour it from one to another. They stand in lines and squares and pour the tea into each others' pots. The dance must be choreographed to allow anyone who has both pots full to empty them and refill whoever has no tea at any one point.
In many cultures, tea is often had at high class social events,
"The traditional method of making a cup of tea is to place loose tea leaves, either directly, or in a tea infuser, into a tea pot or teacup and pour hot water over the leaves. After a couple of minutes the leaves are usually removed again, either by removing the infuser, or by straining the tea while serving.
Most green teas should be allowed to steep for about three minutes, although some types of tea require as much as ten. The strength of the tea should be varied by changing the amount of tea leaves used, not by changing the steeping time. The amount of tea to be used per amount of water differs from tea to tea but one basic recipe may be one slightly heaped teaspoon of tea (about 5 ml) for each teacup of water (200 ml) (8 oz) prepared as above. Stronger teas, such as Assam, to be drunk with milk are often prepared with more leaves, and more delicate high grown teas such as a Darjeeling are prepared with a little less (as the stronger mid-flavors can overwhelm the champagne notes).
The best temperature for brewing tea depends on its type
Teas that have little or no oxidation period, such as a green or white tea, are best brewed at lower temperatures between 60 °C and 85 °C (140-185 °F), while teas with longer oxidation periods should be brewed at higher temperatures around 100 °C (212 °F). The higher temperatures are required to extract the large, complex, flavorful phenolic molecules found in fermented tea, although boiling the water reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.
Some tea sorts are often brewed several times using the same tea leaves
Historically, in China, tea is divided into a number of infusions. The first infusion is immediately poured out to wash the tea, and then the second and further infusions are drunk. The third through fifth are nearly always considered the best infusions of tea, although different teas open up differently and may require more infusions of hot water to bring them to life."
One way to taste a tea, throughout its entire process, is to add hot water to a cup containing the leaves and after about 30 seconds to taste the tea. As the tea leaves unfold (known as "The Agony of the Leaves") they give up various parts of themselves to the water and thus the taste evolves. Continuing this from the very first flavours to the time beyond which the tea is quite stewed will allow an appreciation of the tea throughout its entire length."
Tea in the United States of America
"While coffee is by far more popular, hot brewed black tea is enjoyed both with meals and as a refreshment by much of the population. Similarly, iced tea is consumed throughout. In the Southern states sweet tea, sweetened with large amounts of sugar or an artificial sweetener and chilled is the fashion. Outside the South, "Sweet Tea" is sometimes found in restaurants or in the home, but primarily because of a culture migration and commercialization."