Tea and Me: The Return

My gosh I can’t believe that it’s been nearly a year since I have posted about a new tea!! In that time I have been drinking tea, but I’ve stuck to the old familiars. Even when I visited the tea room over these many months, I have stuck to teas I’m familiar with, with the exception of last November. Even for my birthday last month, upon discovering that you may try as many different teas as you’d like after the first pot, I stuck with the familiar.

I’m pleased to report that on Monday last I received my order from Harney & Sons and they are all brand new teas I’ve never tried before. I know this company hasn’t been around as long as some of the greats like Twinings, but Harney & Sons has over 200 different teas. These are the teas that are served at the tea room, so I can enjoy them again on future visits. Also, while I haven’t looked into other tea companies, you can order samples of the teas that Harney & Sons sells. they range from $2-$4 for a bag that will make 2-3 cups.

I’d like to talk about the different types of teas, before I share information about these teas that I’ve bought. I may or may not have previously covered this, but I’m going over it again. For those who don’t know, with the exception of herbal teas that come from flowers and fruits, all tea comes from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The different types of teas are created by processing the leaves in various ways. These are the types:

White tea: (least amount of caffeine) Traditionally cultivated in China, white tea was picked only a few days out of the year, when a white down, known as bai hao, appeared on the tender shoots. The tea shoots are allowed to wither then dry to prevent oxidization. This process is a delicate one, requiring strict attention from the tea makers. Nowadays, other tea growing regions as Darjeeling and Sri Lanka have begun to cultivate white tea, in an effort to capitalize off white tea’s growing popularity.

Green tea: (some caffeine, but generally low amounts) Because they are unoxidized, green teas keep their vital color. To prevent oxidization, the leaves are heat processed to eliminate the enzyme responsible for oxidization. In China, this is generally done by roasting or pan-firing the leaves, while the Japanese generally accomplish this by steaming the leaves at a high temperature. Each process tends to bring out a more particular flavor from the tea leaves. The Chinese style of processing tends to bring out a mouthwatering range of flavors from citrus-like to smoky with a lighter body. The color of the liquor is usually not a true “green”, but a pale yellow or straw color. The steaming process yields a deep vegetal or herbaceous quality-a characteristic prized in Japanese teas. Japanese green teas range in color of liqour from the pale green of a light sencha, to the deep grassy green of a gyokuro. Green teas that have been steamed contain more moisture and are therefore more delicate. Such teas should be stored at cooler temperatures and consumed sooner after picking than pan-fired teas.

Oolong tea: (mid-level amounts of caffeine) Oolong, also spelled Wu Long, teas are semi-oxidized. The term in Chinese actually means “Black Dragon”. Oolong teas have long been cultivated in both mainland China and Taiwan. In general, larger, mature leaves are picked, withered, rolled, oxidized, and then fired. The leaves can be allowed to oxidize between 10% to 80%. Often, different tea estates have their preferred ways of making oolong tea. It is because of the intricacy of this process that oolong teas can have the widest array of flavors and aromas. Furthermore, oolongs can be steeped several time, with each successive infusion having its own distinctive taste and fragrance.

Black tea: (highest amounts of caffeine) Black tea is the most well-known variety of tea in the West. Known as “red tea” in China, black tea leaves are fully oxidized. In the case of most black teas, younger leaves are picked before being withered, rolled, fully oxidized, and fired. While created originally in China, black teas are now cultivated worldwide. Some of the most famous black teas come from the Indian regions of Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri as well as Sri Lanka. The use of machines is becoming more common, but the best black teas are those entirely done by hand. Machine-processed teas tend to be of lower quality and are generally used in tea bags.

The long-standing trend in black tea, taken from the British, has been to create “blends”. For centuries, tea companies take various kinds of tea to create a particular flavor or character-for example, a strong breakfast tea or a delicate afternoon tea. And just like a perfume house, several older tea companies are known for their signature blends. But as the quality and character of tea harvests can vary greatly year to year, tea companies rely on the skills of tea blenders to take different teas from the year’s harvest to create the same taste again and again.

 

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Abdication of Edward VIII

On 10 December 1936, Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David, of the House of Windsor (formerly Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) abdicated the throne of England in order to marry his love, American divorcee Wallis Simpson. His younger brother Albert would ascend to the throne as King George VI, who is the current queen’s father.

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Dog from Canine Partners Gives Flowers to Queen

I thought this a lovely gesture. It doesn’t matter whether the flowers were given in hand or not. It was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen.

After the longest reign in British history, the Queen has received countless posies in her time. Few, though, will have been delivered in quite such style.

The Queen appeared delighted as she was offered a posy of flowers by a seven-year-old black Labrador, who is descended from one of her own breeding lines at Sandringham.

Yarna, one of 400 dogs at a charity which trains them to assist their disabled owners, performed a curtsey before offering the flowers to Her Majesty in front of a crowd.

Full story (with video of Yarna presenting the flowers)

Prince Harry Engaged!

I’m sure his mum is looking down on him, beaming with pride. ❤ Can't wait to see this wedding, hopefully.

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For anyone (like me) who doesn’t know where Nottingham Cottage is in relation to Kensington Palace, I’ve found this image.

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New Changing of the Queen’s Guard

For the first time in the ceremony’s 357 year history, the changing of the guard at Buckingham and St James Palaces occurred yesterday, 26 November 2017 between the Foot Guard Regiment of the Army’s Household Division and the Royal Navy’s guard regiment. They will also be performing duties at Windsor Castle and the Tower of London as well. This is all part of the honoring of the Royal Navy as 2017 was set as the Year of the Navy by former Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon. The Royal Navy has also welcomed new ships to its fleet.

I managed to find a 12 minute video on YouTube covering the changing of the guard. Unfortunately it’s not complete, but it’s definitely the longest one I’ve found thus far.

Also, if you’ve ever wondered about whether the Queen’s Guard can actually move about while on duty, I’ve found this video that talks about what they can and cannot do.

Cheers!

The Queen’s Gone Platinum!

No, not platinum blonde. Today is the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Among all of the other unofficial titles she has, they both can claim the honour of being the only royal couple to celebrate a platinum anniversary! ❤

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Very British Problems

I’ve discovered this series on YouTube and everything in it is what I love about Brits and it’s making me laugh. I would like to point out that the change in speaking is not exclusive to Brits. I have an Indian friend who speaks English with absolutely no trace of an Indian accent when she speaks to another Indian in English, she suddenly uses the English with an English accent. It’s so funny how she can turn it off and on.