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Infusion Confusion

Infusion Confusion

I like the way this sounds, so I am going to blab about brewing. So many visitors to the CarriageHouse Tea Room at Selby Gardens are confused about how to brew tea. I hope this helps with Infusion Confusion.

Tea Tools

Let’s start with the Kettle, used only to heat water. There are some great models on the market which switch off when the boiling point is reached. There is even one with a thermometer to catch the water before the boiling point is reached.  Great for making green or white tea.

A Teapot is a vessel in which the tea is made. You may brew directly in a cup or mug, but I love my teapots. I always warm the pot with boiling water before adding the tea.  After I pour out the heating water, I add the tea to the wet pot.  After a minute or so, I inhale deeply. As the leaves start to open, the aroma from these warm environs is fantastic and hints at the pleasure soon to come.

Use a teaspoon for each cup of tea you want to prepare. My mum used to say, “and one for the pot,” and my husband and I still always add an extra teaspoon of tea when we brew a pot.  A teaspoon is different for each kind of tea, as teas come in many shapes and sizes.  Not to fret; you will soon get accustomed to the amount of tea you prefer as you brew more tea.  Experiment, though it is not an exact science, have fun.

Tea

Steep your tea for the recommended time.  White and green teas are 2 to 3 minutes.  Black tea is 4 to 6 minutes.  Herbals and tisanes are 8 to 10 minutes.  Above all, personal preference is the rule.  While I use a timer in the tasting room to bring garden visitors the perfect taste, at home, I just look at the color of the liquor and guess!

Many teapots have Infusers, mesh baskets to hold the loose tea.  Other pots have Strainers to keep the leaves in the pot and out of your cup.  I like to let the leaves move around in the pot, and with glass pots, it can be quite a show.

Loose leaf tea holds a lot of flavors, and I always recommend multiple steeping. Add more boiling water to the leaves and double the steeping time. Your second cuppa will not be as strong as your first, but I cannot bear the thought of throwing away tea leaves with even a bit of flavor. If you don’t plan to drink multiple cups, put the teapot in your fridge, and enjoy the tea over ice.

This afternoon I am brewing my favorite Oolong and will infuse the leaves at least four times before the leaves are laid to rest in my garden, but that’s another posting.

Sit back and enjoy the perfect cup of tea. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. I hope this helps.

Cheers,
The tea lady

Holy Basil Tea

Holy Basil Tea

At our booth at the Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market, someone asked for Holy Basil tea. I was not familiar with this tea and did some research that you may find interesting.

Holy Basil, or the Tulsi plant, is called ‘Holy’ and is an important symbol in the Hindu religion. Tulsi means “the incomparable one,” and the plant is worshiped morning and evening.  No Hindu household is considered complete without a Tulsi plant.

Holy Basil Tea or Tulsi

Apart from the religious significance of Holy Basil, the plant has many medicinal benefits. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is termed “the elixir of life” as it promotes longevity.  In other words, the tea has antioxidants to boost the body’s ability to fight nasty free radicals that can cause disease and aging. It is also an adaptogen that helps the body fight stress by balancing the mind, nerves, and emotions and maintains the respiratory tract’s health.

Initially, I was curious why this customer wanted this tea.  I understood the importance of this tea when I learned about the spiritual nature of Holy Basil.  I am thrilled to know a bit more about another aspect of this beverage we love called tea.

Cheers,
The Tea Lady