Jul 31, 2007
I used to drink coffee, a long time
ago. I still love the taste.
My favorite gelato is
coffee. But the brew itself developed the
strange effect of turning me into a real grouch the next day. Some
people said this was a complete reversal for me.
I can't recall just when I switched to tea.
Tea's a touchy thing. It's not that good in northern New Jersey, and I'd guess that's because of the water. It's almost always good in London, probably for the same reason. In New York City, and close by, tea can be good. A lot depends upon the tea, too, and how you prepare it.
White tea is a kind of green tea, best prepared not by boiling but steaming water. Best of all is water that just starts to steam. But if you get distracted and the water starts to boil, wait until it cools down just a bit.
I have seen white tea in bags, but do yourself a favor and get some sort of tea maker. You can use a tea-ball and chain, or they sell cool contraptions for $15 or so which make excellent tea from loose leaves.
I sometimes put white tea leaves in a cup, add water, and let the tea brew in the cup. Most of the leaves settle to the bottom, and they're fun to suck on.
White tea comes from the tips of green tea leaves. Which means they are the most tender part of the leaf. Unlike black tea leaves, green and white leaves are not aged.
White tea is said to have powerful anti-oxidizing qualities. That's good, but I'd drink it anyway, because I like it what it tastes like, and how it makes me feel. Enough of an edge to keep me relatively sharp, but not enough to stop me from sleeping if that's what I want.
It comes in lots of varieties. I'd recommend Mutan - it's sweet and smooth. If you want a white tea with a little more tingle, try Silver Needle.
But much more important than the variety of the white tea – of any tea, really –is the age of the tea leaves. How long they have been stored is extremely important. We're not talking wine here. The fresher the tea the better. I bought some white tea in an old Chinese shop in London a few years ago. I had the idea that maybe I was getting a taste from some secret, delicious, ancient stash.
The tea itself was very old, that was certain. It tasted like it came from the Manchu dynasty - which means, it tasted awful. Old tea tastes like some kind of wood shavings, which, although I've never tasted, can't taste too good.
In contrast, the best cups of tea come
from leaves that are so fresh, you can smell the
moisture. All good tea merchants will tell
you what's freshest in their stock. Follow
All right - you saw this coming. I've got some water on the boil that's starting to steam ...
I'd send a cup to you right through the Web now, if I could. I’ve got some Silver Needle Imperial Tea that I bought a few weeks ago. It’s the freshest tea I’ve ever had. I’d send you a cup if I could, but java script can't process tea - not even java - just information, like this...