Saturday, November 14, 2009

Let's have a nice cuppa tea

How about a cuppa of celery? I'll bet the vast majority of us don't think about celery much. We all have it in the fridge and we use it to add crunch to things or as one of those veggies that add some flavor to a sauce or stuffing, along with many others. It's one of those standbys with dips or to make us feel full when we are on a diet. A few of us may braise it as a vegetable on its own, but that's about the extent of its use. Certainly no one drinks it!
Well, that has changed. A group of us from the Association of Tea Bloggers heard about a study of green tea flavors and with Jason Walker leading, we decided to try 10 of the flavors and blog about them. Last week, Katrina from Tea Pages blogged about asparagus. This week I did celery.

I used McCormack's Celery Flakes, 1.5 grams – about a teaspoon to 8 ounces of water at 212 degrees, brewed for three minutes, then strained into a cup. Just as I would do a cup of tea. Meanwhile, I set up 5 green teas I had on hand to compare with it. I brewed them all according to their particular needs – on average 1 teaspoon for about 2 minutes at 170 degrees. One, Celestial Seasonings Authentic Green tea, I brewed a little longer. The other 4 were: Twinings Gunpowder Green; Teavana's Dao Ren Mao Feng Green; Andrews and Dunham Dragonwell and Special Teas China Fine Lung Ching.
The way I tested them was to have a big sip of celery, wait a little bit and then have a sip of tea, to make sure I remembered the taste of celery. One thing I discovered is that celery flakes treated like tea are actually pretty good. By the time I finished the cup of celery I was surprised to find all sorts of nuances in it and really beginning to appreciate it! It was all very very interesting.
Of the five, only two teas had any celery taste. Andrews and Dunham had the merest hint and Teavana's Dao Ren Mao Feng had a definite hint. At the end, I decided to put all the teas together in one pot, minus the celery tea. It was a pleasant brew, but the biggest surprise was, it had a real hit of celery. Not overwhelmingly so and I may not have noticed it if I weren't doing this experiment, but definitely there.
Being pretty new to green teas, I am very glad to have done this – the whole experiment is opening up a new world to me.

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