I busted through the 10,000 mark last night for NaNoWriMo with one arm at my side and the other pointed at the sky in a fist. Superman would have been proud. I made some progress toward 11,000 this morning before work as well. Not sure I’ll hit my 12,000 goal for today with a busy afternoon planned and poker on the agenda to cap the evening.
I also realized I never gave the reader(s?) a summary of the tea cupping I attended. Well, the wait is over. On the 28th of October my brother, his wife, my wife and I attended a “tea cupping” at The London Tea Room, which incidentally is in St. Louis, many many miles from London. The place is great and was opened by English immigrants to the States. Visit it often. The Veggie Sandwich is amazing, but I’d recommend only getting the half-sized portion.
Here’s what I learned about tea that night, in no particular order. Most tea, no matter the type, comes from the same plant. When it’s picked and how long it’s allowed to oxidize gives it different tastes, colors and health benefits. A few less common types of tea do come from a different species of plant. On to the line up – here’s what we sampled:
Black- The London Tea Room blend – black tea is heavily oxidized and this particular tea is a specially created blend for The London Tea Room. The tea was strong and very flavorful.
Green – Jasmine Dragon Tears – this tea is actually used to be made from tears collected from a dragon. Now it’s made from the same plant as black tea but is not oxidized. Instead, it is steamed immediately after picking. This variety had a pleasant aroma. It was much weaker than the black tea but still very good. The jasmine is a bit overwhelming to the palette if you’re not a big fan of floral accents.
Oolong- Iron Goddess of Mercy – this was my favorite tea we tasted. It’s slightly oxidized and had a very clean, pure taste. It tasted very “Asian”, was very smooth and virtually no fruitiness.
White – Plum Berry White – white tea comes from a much less common tea plant. It only grows at a particular elevation and is only picked a few days a year. It used to be reserved for royalty, and given its price, may still be. The tea plant smelled like hookah tobacco . It was aromatic and fruity. My sister-in-law commented on how it tasted like warm juice.
Rooibos- Blueberry Rooibos – rooibos tea comes from a different plant than the four teas discussed above. This variety was very berry-licious. Rooibos contains no caffeine and is apparently good for people with allergies. It’s also from South Africa, which is one of the few regions outside India and China that tea grows well.
Herbal / Tisane- Tangerine Ginger – so I have to admit I’ve felt duped. Apparently herbal “teas” are not teas at all, at least not in the traditional sense. Most herbal teas have no tea leaves in them, but are combinations of plants and herbs and additives that are used to flavor hot water. Since these beverages are made through steeping, they’ve been called teas. This particular “tea” was a little dry and had a strange aftertaste but was good. It probably would have been better iced, which a few people noted.
In addition to tasting the teas, the host gave us more history on the varieties and tea in general. A small plate with the loose tea for each one we tasted was passed around with each pouring so we could see it in its raw form and give it a good whiff. The entire experience only cost us $10, which was well worth it.
I doubt I’ll get a post written this weekend as I’ll be concentrating on NaNoWriMo. Hopefully I’ll come to you next week with news of my progress. Two hundred one hundreds here I come!