I have known for at least 2 weeks that this is Hot Tea Month and haven't mentioned it. I am doing a tea tasting in about 2 weeks to celebrate. If you go over to Steph's Cup of tea, see the link on the right, you'll see a short article on a presentation she did at her library. Whatever you do, from tea with a friend to a tea party to a public presentation, celebrate! January can be a bit of a let-down from the hurry of the holiday season and around here it is often gray and ugly, so make an occasion to celebrate one of the best things in life - TEA
Did you know that Sara Lee Brands has bought out Tea Forte? Tea Forte is probably quite happy, but I always am discomfited when smallish companies catering to a unique market, tea drinkers for instance, get swallowed up. I worry about loss of individuality, about too much mass marketing etc. I don't want tea to become just another ho hum mall store, the same everywhere you go. End of freakout.
On the other hand, I am in favor of large population studies and one such was just released in the UK giving credence to black tea drinking of at least 3 cups a dayas an aid to good health. It can reduce the risk of heart disease 30 to 57 percent and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. I am sure it helps if one is also sensible about eating and exercise. Apparently black tea reduces cholesterol and helps prevent the build-up of placque in arteries. Go have some tea!
In Japan, a group of 20 tea farmers is going around Northern Japan to bring relief and hot tea to the folks still suffering from the tsunami and meltdown of the nuclear plant at Fukoshima. You can follow their journey at www.obubutea.com/2012/01/tohoku-caravan-day-1-kickoff-travel-dairy-farm There is also a place where you can donate to support this effort.
My own journey is a more humble one, only as far as my teapot. I am having American Tea Room's Nirvana. I have put this off for months, as it is a fruity tea with a Japanese Sencha base, two things I'm not crazy about. More fool, I. It contains rose petals, berries, fig and kiwi. It smells wonderful and the tea is crowded with big chunks of fig and dried berries. I wasn't as sure about the kiwi identification, but found them. I brewed it at about 175 for 3 minutes.
The tea brewed up into an old gold color and still smelled wonderfully of fresh fruit. It was sweet with a definite berry and fig taste. I couldn't discern the kiwi, but I think it may have been keeping the other fruits from being too sweet, as kiwi has something of a piquant taste. I loved it! It is so well done. I stuck some in the fridge, thinking this would make a good ice tea. Right on! I guess I will have to stop pre-judging my teas. I think this would be lovely with desserts at a tea. Too bad all my Christmas cookies are gone.
But summer's coming and I will be happy to present this to all my guests.