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Overview of Teas from Around the World: from England to the Middle East to Asia

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Tea is a drink enjoyed around the world

I am a huge fan of Tea's from around the world! Every culture has some sort of tea they enjoy as a beverage. Some are used in Religious or Cultural Ceremonies, other times as a perfect pairing for food, and here in America it is the drink of choice when we reach for something to cool us off on a hot day or warm us up when we are a bit chilled. There is so much to learn about Tea, I could never do it justice, so I suggest some web browsing, I am sure you will find it intrusting and informative!

  • For today I will just offer some insight into some teas and how to enjoy them. Some are to be enjoyed hot and some cold. Sometimes we can enhance them with fruits, flowers or herbs, but however we prepare them they are delicious, and sooth the soul. Listed below are some Tea recipes and preparations suggestions I have found to bring out the best in the teas!
  • There is One Rule I think applies, and is kind of a"Old Wife's Tale", but I think it really is true, for the best flavor a Tea Pot with a dark glazed interior seems to make the best tea....
  • Lets get something straight, a Tea Kettle is what you boil water in. A Tea Pot is what you steep Tea in....so now you have it. I have many Tea Pots, I collect them it is a fun thing to do and some come as a set with beautiful Tea cups and saucers. I also Have a Tea service from Turkey that I use to serve when entertaining my friends from the Middle East. As well as one from Japan for use when I have an Asian Dinner.
  • Just as important as the correct Service for serving, is the correct Tea. Every time Tea is served it should reflect the circumstance involved.
  • Tea refers to the agricultural product of leaves, leaf pods, and the internodes of the "Camellia sinensis plant". It also refers to the beverage preparation of adding boiling water to these items to make a drink.
  • The 4 main types of teas found in most markets are Oolong, Black, Green and White Tea.
  • Not all Teas are made from Tea Leaves, some teas are made from Herbs, Flowers, Spice, Tree Barks, Roots, Mushrooms, Grasses,and Fruit. These are really not teas but have been considered as such for thousands of years.
  • Sometimes these ingredients are added to Tea to enhance the flavors, all over the world people do this. In Japan you will find tea infused with Herbs such as Lemmongrass, in the Middle East they use spice like Cardamom, In Jamaica they enjoy a Hibiscus Flower Tea, in China they may enjoy Oolong tea which may have been smoked or a green tea with Jasmine flower, and here in your local marker you will find tea with flavors like Apple, Raspberry, Lemon, and the list goes on and on.
  • Tea has always been used as a medicine to heal, some times we drink it, some times the leaves are used to pull poisons from a bite or to sooth a wound. It is true that Tea has properties that are good for us, but like all things you should enjoy it in moderation.
  • Tea is also used in cooking, some foods are flavored with tea. Sometimes it is used as a liquid and sometimes ground to a powder and added as a dry ingredient. I have used it in Date Breads, Sauces, as a marinade for some fishes, in cookies and cakes.
  • It also is a great natural dye for fabrics or paper.

Now I have some suggestions on selections of Tea to serve as an alternative to what you are used to. Like with Wine or any other drink you will have some you favor more than others, but try them. Who knows? A great place to try Tea is out at a Restaurant with an Ethnic Menu, this will also be an opportunity to try a new cuisine.

Tea can be found in tea bags, or as a loose tea, I use them both, it just depends on the situation. If I am having an "Afternoon Tea", a service England is famous for I use an Earl Grey. this tea is great with milk, or lemon, sweetened or not. The English enjoy tea served hot, usually you would serve small sandwiches, & cookies. For a great place to start and a huge selection of English teas go to.....www.englishteastore.com  I love the teas offered by "Ashbys' of London. Tea etiquette is VERY important....always study up so as not to Insult your guest! No matter where they are from...The English do it one way, Japan another, Korea another way, and Iran yet another. To serve Tea incorrectly at a formal gathering is never good....Know your business, before you are looked upon as rude or just an ass! There are specific guidelines to know so read up before you attempt a formal tea.

If serving tea to my Middle Eastern friends I suggest a Tea Blend with Cardamom, my personal favorite is by a company "Sadaf" They make all kinds of tea, and offer what I feel are exceptional quality as great value in Tea....www.sadaf.com ....serve these teas hot

If serving Chinese or Japanese Food I often serve Oolong or Green Tea. Sometimes if it is a special event I will serve a pure "Jasmine Flower Tea". I love to shop at....www.teashopchina.com  For "Jasmine Flower Tea" there is none finer than the product offered by "Tea Tree International" the best place to shop online for specialty teas from Asia is ....www.rishi-tea.com ....again they drink hot tea.

When serving a menu from Mexico, or a Jamaican Jerk, which I am well known to do I always serve a "Hibiscus Flower Tea", you will find these teas very refreshing, and they always get a conversation started because of the beautiful Ruby color of the drink....www.dragonwater.com  is a great place to find this tea and others as well. You may also find it at local Ethnic Markets. This tea is often prescribed to lower blood pressure. These teas may be served hot but suggested served over Ice!

  • If serving Italian food I often make a spiced tea. For this drink I just use "Lipton Tea", after all we Americans love this tea, Iced on a warm day! It is a great choice for making Iced Tea...and for my Spiced Tea, which is a kind of tea punch...steep tea at twice the normal strength for drinking, dilute with 1 parts OJ to 2 parts tea, when steeping tea I use 1 family sized bag 4 cups boiling water and to it I add 12 Clove pods, 4 lg. Cinnamon Sticks, 2 each squeezed Lemon and Lime put the whole thing in the hot water will draw out the oils from the rind and add flavor, 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp fresh ground Ginger, this makes 1 gallon. To this I add 1 bunch Mint chopped......let set for 2 hours in fridge, then serve over Ice...Fantastic!
  • Other Brands of teas I like for good quality, and value , and / or taste are as listed.....
  1. Good Earth, Brand
  2. The Republic of Tea, Brand......try the Black Berry Sage!
  3. Asian Taste, Brand
  4. Tea of Life, Brand
  5. Bigelow, Brand
  6. Stash Tea Co., Brand
  7. Tazo, Brand by Starbucks
  8. Taylors of Harrogate, Brand

And there are many other Great companies, my sister loved the product put out by "Snapple" for fruit flavored teas. Just hit the market and enjoy!, But remember to check out the endless information on Tea via the Web or through Books, it is some of the most interesting reading out there. I have enjoyed Teas from around the World and never had one that I didn't enjoy if prepared correctly, and as far as serving teas it is a magical experience if done right!

  • There are also some New to the market Liquor Drinks that are Tea Flavored, I love them!.....I love the "Firefly sweet tea flavored Vodka"!
  • Never use  "Dieters Tea", in excess it can cause many health issues
  • While Herbal teas sometime claim to be the cure all, always consult a doctor, this was medicine thousands of years ago......some teas offer benefits that are great for us, however they will not cure cancer. Or make your hair grow back as once thought....LOL!
  • A Stylish and fantastic way for Brides to entertain the ladies before a wedding is a proper "English Tea". Many of the finer Hotels and Tea Houses offer this service. In Dallas I suggest the "Adolphus Hotel"....www.hoteladolphus.com   They are top notch!
  • History and information about tea on the Web is found at" Wikipedia",

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James Nelson, aka "Flawless"

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