The Perfect Teatime Teas
Picture a fine gourmet meal then substitute gourmet tea for the usual wine or champagne. As the health benefits of fine teas are becoming increasingly well-known, the use of tea becomes an increasingly popular substitute for other beverages.
You can buy gourmet tea in bags or loose. True connoisseurs buy loose tea and pour their tea through their own strain. This method results in fresher, fuller flavor. Tea is also popular iced, of course.
For many years, tea was purchased as a generic product, and few consumers were aware that the tea they were purchasing was actually "orange pekoe" or "earl grey." Today, the health and medicinal benefits of tea are increasingly well understood, and fine gourmet teas are sought out.
There are two basic kinds of teas: black and green. Oolong teas are a kind of green tea sometimes into their own category, and these are increasing in popularity with tea gourmands, as well. You can find any of your favorite teas decaffeinated.
Black tea is the most common. Black teas are made from dryer leaves and actually have a reddish tinge when brewed. Some of the more popular kinds of black tea are:
- Earl Grey
- English breakfast
- Ceylon teas
Green tea is more popular in Asia, though its use is becoming increasingly familiar in North America. Green teas are made from the unfermented leaves of tea plants. Some more famous kinds include Hyson, Jasmine and Long Jing.
Herbal and fruit teas sometimes use black and green tea as a base for flavoring, or they can be made entirely from the plants they are named after. Gourmets call herbal teas tisanes. Pure herbal teas and fruit teas make a great alternative to caffeinated beverages.