Tea Rubbed Pulled Pork
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about a video? Check this one out titled, “The Making of Tea Rubbed Pulled Pork.”
This Fall, Selby Botanical Gardens hosted the Garden Music Series under the banyans. Our pulled pork sandwich may have stolen the show, selling out each week as we doubled the batch. We may not wait until the Spring Music Series, so visit Selby Gardens and ask for the next chance to try this unique blend of tea and porcine.
Some interesting tales about Lapsang Souchong can be found on our product page. We have also tried this smoky tea iced with very positive results. This is not an everyday tea, but on a chilly afternoon with a good book and a comfy chair near a fireplace, Lapsang Souchong is your tea.
Lapsang Souchong Black Loose Leaf Tea from the Fujian Province in China. This tea is a large, bold, full-bodied whole leaf with a smoky flavor from drying over pinewood fires.
After that, this special smoked black tea from Fujian Province in China has a very distinctive flavor and aroma. The term “souchong” means sub-variety. This is a sub-variety of black tea from the Wuyi Mountains, where thick pine forests and heavy mists provide ideal environments for growing top-quality tea.
In conclusion, legend claims that the smoking process was discovered by accident. An army unit (during the Qing dynasty!) camped in a tea factory filled with leaves waiting to be processed. When the workers returned, it was too late to follow the usual procedures. So, they dried the leaves over open pinewood fires to hasten the process and created the sensational tea we know as Lapsang.
White Tea is surrounded by folklore and mystique heralded from ancient China. I am talking really ancient here, as in Tang dynasty 618-907 AD. The Emperor proclaimed this delicate tea as “the culmination of all that is elegant” and reserved for members of the Imperial Court. The leaves were picked in early spring when young tea shoots abound, and legend has it that the picking was done by virgins wearing white gloves. Well, it is a pure story at any rate!
White tea is thankfully no longer solely the property of Emperors and Kings! Although originally grown only in the Fujian Province in China, it is now grown in other regions such as Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and India due to its increasing popularity. What has remained the same is the process of making this tea!
White teas are the least processed of all the teas. Leaves are delivered to the factory by hand, where they are naturally withered and sun-dried; no oxidation occurs.
The new buds are picked before they open when they have a white, silvery appearance (hence the name!). This white appearance is the ‘hao” or hair on the bud or baby leaf.
White teas are subtle, delicate, and flavorful and are considered by some to have the most health benefits. The appearance of white teas can vary in color, depending on the style of tea. Still, all have a very natural fresh look, which is also very pure and natural in the cup, devoid of any astringency or grassiness.
With more antioxidants than black tea or green tea, research shows that white tea has anticancer properties, is strengthening the immune and cardiovascular systems, reduces high blood pressure, and calms and detoxifies the skin(anti-sagging!).
So, what about our White Mischief from Local Tea Company? I thought this a very appropriate name on first tasting this tea with a mischievous play on the taste buds. Please take a moment to smell this tea when it also plays mischief with your senses!
White Mischief is a type of tea known as Pai Mu Tan, which means “white peony” and is produced in Fujian Province from a variety of tea bush called Narcissus or chaicha where only the “two leaves and a bud” are used. The tea is mostly green with silver tips and is quite light and fluffy. The mischievousness is created by blending with a healthy dose of tart pomegranate and juicy guava!
When brewing White Mischief uses one heaped teaspoon per cup with water heated to 180-190 degrees (or just under boiling), I find this produces a mellow flavor without scalding the leaves, which may cause astringency. The tea can be infused for 2 minutes with plenty of flavor. The second infusion of 4 minutes and a third of 6 minutes will yield great cooling and refreshing character. See our earlier post on multi-steeping tea.
I have infused this tea as many as 6 times, but leave you to experiment with this stimulating and actually quite mischievous tea. Sorry I couldn’t resist it one more time!
Kombucha Yorkshire Tea
Thank you to those following my Kombucha side trip on my Tea Journey. And for enduring me when I get carried away with Kombucha enthusiasm! Since my earlier Kombucha posts, #1 and #2, I have been busy brewing. I continue to learn about the variations, the good, bad, and the ugly about this fascinating beverage.
Kombucha Yorkshire Tea
I am not very disciplined about drinking my kombucha when at home. However, during my working days at the Carriagehouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens, I sip during lunch and the afternoon hours. During the ‘dog days of summer, ’ kombucha gives me a boost of energy.
Michael and Tray continue to make excuses for why they no longer brew kombucha. Tray drinks as much of my supply as available. I must be doing something right. So, what’s new?
I have found that black tea seems to work best, especially our Harrogate Yorkshire tea. This is not really surprising; this tea has such strength and character as the people of Yorkshire!! Brewing the tea for 14 days was too astringent for my taste, so I reduced to 7 days. Less fermentation time results in a slightly sweeter taste and more fizz. I also started adding new tea on top of the same SCOBY instead of washing out containers each time. I no longer split the mother and baby as often. The SCOBY has grown really fast, improving my results.
After reading that more fizz is achieved if you leave bottles out for 4 days before refrigeration, I tried this routine. I found the bottles started to grow ‘mini’ SCOBYs (ew!), so I now refrigerate immediately.
I am very much enjoying where this journey is taking me. New converts or fellow ‘Kombuchans’ are found in all sorts of spots. You may have heard of retailers removing the commercially bottled Kombucha from their shelves, so there has been growing interest in home brewing. I have been giving away SCOBYs to anyone who wants to try making their own and hope to have more success stories to share. Stop by Local Tea Company to talk about tea. .Kombucha Yorkshire Tea
Tea and Relaxation
It seems that stress has become a major part of every day in all of our lives, and we have forgotten how to relax. Stress is also leading to more obesity, heart problems, and blood pressure, to name a few.
I have a niece visiting from England, and it is apparent even in the young, she is 15 years old! It may not manifest in the same way as in adults. However, never the less, they seem to HAVE TO fill their day with one thing after another and no longer know how to ‘live in and enjoy the moment’ or RELAX.
For me, there is no better way to help mind and body cope than to enjoy a cup of tea (or several in my case!). That is exactly what I am doing at this moment whilst said niece and husband visit Busch Gardens.
There are excellent reasons why tea has such good stress-relieving properties. All teas made from Camellia sinensis, black, oolong, green, and white tea contain a unique and special amino acid called L-Theanine. Researchers have found that L-Theanine appears to play a role in the formation of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. This blocks the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, promoting a state of calm relaxation.
Here is how it works! L-Theanine enters your body through the bloodstream but will also trigger the alpha brain waves, relaxation brain waves. This gives us a sense of well-being and improved mood. This combines with the caffeine to release sustained energy, focus, and mental clarity. It was this amazing phenomenon that first attracted Buddhist monks to drinking the beverage thousands of years ago. They were able to remain alert but felt relaxed enough to meditate for very long periods of time.
L- Theanine’s chemical effect on our brain and body is not the only reason tea is one of the best-known remedies for relaxation. The whole process of preparing the water, warming the pot, the tantalizing aroma from the fresh leaves, the anticipation of the first sip, and the flavor in the mouth all relax our senses. Even if you are an iced tea drinker, you have involved those senses in preparing your tea. You may decide to enjoy your tea alone or share it with loved ones or friends.
Whichever tea or whatever way you choose to take your tea is not really important, take time to do it! Tea and Relaxation
Caffeine in Tea
The debate about the amount of caffeine in tea compared to coffee has been ongoing and does not seem likely to stop any time soon. There are many conflicting reports about dry weight versus brewed, water temp, steeping time, etc. We know for certain that there is caffeine in tea, and reports all agree that most caffeine is found in black tea.
Should you be drinking tea with caffeine? Scientific studies to date have also been contradictory. There is no conclusive evidence that caffeine causes or exacerbates illness or medical conditions.
I am going to share my theory on the subject. This is my personal view and what we share with our visitors at Local Tea Company, where we showcase teas WITH caffeine.
Caffeine is naturally found in the leaves of camellia sinensis, giving the plant a built in defense system deterring insects from eating the leaves due to the bitter taste of caffeine.
Caffeine in Tea
However, not all caffeine is equal! I am a great advocate of caffeine in tea because the leaf also contains another extraordinary component. L- Theanine is an amino acid that works in conjunction with caffeine to provide your body with a powerhouse of benefits.
Caffeine alone will enter your bloodstream very quickly and stimulate the beta brain waves (fight or flight!). In tea, the L-Theanine follows right behind to stimulate the alpha brain waves (relaxation!), effectively canceling out any negative behavior of caffeine alone. In conjunction, the process unfolds slowly, giving you relaxed alertness that will last for several hours. Think of the monks alert but calm and imagine what might happen if they drank coffee all day.
L-Theanine also creates lots of energy (which in turn helps burn calories!). Tea should be used as part of a healthy lifestyle. To achieve the best results, but I can certainly say it has worked for me. Drink a cuppa for some energy.
Here is how my tea day unfolds…..
I like to drink tea with caffeine throughout the day, usually starting with black during the early morning—something bold like Yorkshire Harrogate. Later the I switch to a more gentle green tea like Goji Green. I have found that black tea is not good for me late in the day unless I want to stay awake all night! Of course, we have some amazing caffeine free teas. Yes, caffeine-free is not de-caffeinated. This is a good topic for my next post.
We are all different and metabolize caffeine at different rates. So work on what is right for your body and lifestyle—no need to despair when an alternative is required. So let’s drink ‘true tea’ as often as our bodies will allow and enjoy the benefits of this amazing beverage.
Astringency in Tea
When we offer samples of tea at Selby Gardens or the Sarasota Farmer’s Market, many people respond with, “I don’t like the taste of tea.” Our standard cheeky response is, “Because you have never tasted our tea?”
After probing a bit, people describe the bitter taste of tea. The root cause is typically oversteeping, which is why we are so specific with steep times at Local Tea Company. Loose leaf tea offers so much flavor, and when prepared incorrectly, will become astringent.
Astringency is that dry, puckering sensation that follows a sip of strong tea, an assertive red wine, or a bite into not quite ripe fruit. Tannins are responsible. They are polyphenols or natural defensive compounds that actually help deter bacteria and fungi growing on the tea leaf. The sensation of astringency is caused by the ‘tanning’ of the proteins in the mouth’s saliva and mucous membranes. Besides, this causes the surface tissues actually to contract and reduce lubrication.
Tannins tend to get some bad press because they are often confused with tannic acid. However, tannic acid is derived from oak leaves and is used for tanning leather! When I was young, I remember well the threats from Dad that I would “get a good tannin if I misbehaved.” I guess this is the source of the phrase? In other words, and to set the record straight, I do not have a leathery bottom now. The threat served its purpose, and I am always a good girl!
The Camellia sinensis tannins found in loose leaf tea are responsible for the wonderful flavor and color in tea. After that, a little astringency is nice, giving your drink some body and briskness (I love that word!) and cleansing your palate after eating. That’s why a cuppa always tastes so good after dinner. You will find tannins very evident in green tea and especially black tea if steeped too long.
I will let you on to a little secret, though you may already know about if you drink your tea like the Brits. If you add milk to the tea, the tannins attack the milk’s proteins rather than those in your mouth, and you have a less astringent taste.
Last but not least, Tannins are said to keep bad bacteria out of your mouth and help impede dental cavities. In conclusion, celebrate Hot Tea Month and make your Dentist happy by drinking lots of tea!