Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, Harney's does it again

More sunshine - oh happy da-a-y!
Yesterday I received my first copy of my subscription to Tea & Coffee, the trade journal for the industry. I had been wanting to subscribe for quite a while and finally bit the bullet. It is much thinner than I expected, but you also get access to all the old issues on line, so it's not too bad in the long run. It has been very interesting to read about our suppliers and the things they go through to market our favorite beverage.
There were pictures of tea-processing machinery that looked like Rube Goldberg inventions.
The most interesting was a fairly lengthy article about the Vietnamese tea growers. A great deal of their tea is produced on tiny farms, with creative use of what is available, such as an old clothes dryer to dry the leaves. The industry there really is in a muddle with State-owned farms, middling sized farm/factories and the tiny producers. The association for these small growers is hoping to move toward the specialty market.
For me this is a good adjunct to some of the more "frou-frou" tea magazines out there. I wish there was a good somewhat educational magazine, other than on line.
I'm sorry, I really like paper to hold.
Today's tea is the "Queen Catherine Blend" from Harney's, in honor of said queen of England who introduced tea to the English. It is a blend of three Chinese black teas and has had the honor of being the only Western tea features in the Chinese museum of tea. The dry leaves are small and range from medium-dark brown to black, with some touches of gold. They have a deep, dark scent of tobacco and fermented earth, very heady. The brewing scent combines that with an over-scent of fresh windy air, in the country. The liquor brews up to a beautiful golden amber after 31/2 minutes at 212. The tea is very mellow, with a nutty [pecan I think] woodsy earthy taste, with no smokiness, for those of you who dislike that. The flavor is not heavy, but refreshing.
I have a bunch of Oolongs and Greens to try, but I am really into Black tea at the moment.

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