What to brew and how to brew it on National Tea Day11 April 2019
As we look forward to National Tea Day 2019 on the 21st of April, it’s clear that there’s more to the PG Tips vs. Tetley debate than we thought. This year’s celebration of tea, is in fact more of a movement to encourage tea drinkers across the UK to try different varieties of tea and to explore different ways of enjoying them. On that note, stick the kettle on and let us inspire you with our freshly brewed suggestions (sorry), that will reignite your love of tea and maybe even redefine the way you drink it.
We don’t mean leaving the bag in or having 3 sugars instead of none, we’re talking about taking time out for tea and turning your brews into something of a sacred ritual. Whittards of Chelsea, Twinings and the like have catalogues brimming with exciting tea blends that deserve your attention. So no more taking a cup of tea for granted, it’s time to celebrate tea just as it deserves.
Take a tea leaf from a Chinese Tea Ceremony
China introduced the world to the tea leaf and the country’s geographic climate allows them to cultivate many varieties of tea across the country.
Chinese tea rituals are an important part of daily life and culture that are closely linked with living a harmonious, balanced and fulfilled life. The art of making tea “Cha dao” is both highly respected and enjoyed by all who partake. Why wouldn’t we share in their wisdom?
A traditional tea ceremony will be carried out to perfection in China. While we may not be able to perform the ritual as natives would when we’re in the office or out and about, we can still try to introduce their warming philosophies into our daily tea routine. From the perspective you take when you go to make your tea, to the blend and the crockery you use - reflecting on each step is guaranteed to heighten your experience of tea drinking forevermore.
Think ahead to the great benefits of tea
When you ask people about why they want a cup of tea, the reasons are endless. The learning here is to approach tea making with a positive attitude. While you may want a cuppa to cheer or wake you up, try to not dwell on any stress or negativity and instead think ahead to how good your tea will make you feel while you’re enjoying it. Having a joyful attitude is a must for a Chinese tea ceremony.
Discover different types of tea
The right approach and need for tea very much feeds in to how you should choose your tea. The typical variety of tea used for a chinese tea ceremony is Oolong, and there are many more tea varieties that also deserve recognition on National Tea Day.
Oolong is a ‘true tea’ which simply refers to teas that have been made with the leaves of the Camellia sinensis tea plant. It is vibrant tasting and semi-oxidised which allows for a variety of distinct flavours. Whittards of Chelsea has a much-coveted selection of Oolong loose-leaf teas to tempt different tastes and personalities. Smooth and uplifting, fruity and lighty, or dramatic and full bodied - you’ve everything you need for an Oolong par-tea.
Pu-erh is another type of tea that’s often used in tea ceremonies and this is hugely popular in Asia as it’s full of cleansing health benefits. Think reduced stress, weight loss, antioxidants and more - it’s easy to see how Pu-Erh tea is technically a variety of green tea - renowned for its own many health benefits. The difference is that Pu-Erh tea is more aged, and by allowing the leaves to naturally oxidise, these teas are known as post-oxidised or post-fermented.
Similar to wine (good start), the more aged, the finer quality. While flavour and aroma pairs closely to green teas, the appearance and composition to raw pu-erh teas is more similar to black tea.
Rooibos Tea, also known as ‘red bush tea’, comes from the Aspalathus linearis plant which is mainly cultivated in South Africa. This is our chosen one for National Tea Day as it is fresh and nutty on the palate, with caramel undertones. A comforting pick-me-up that is naturally caffeine-free.
Essential equipment for the perfect cup of tea
Once you’ve found a tea with the right flavour profile for the moment and for those enjoying it, you should ensure you have the right tools to bring your cup of tea to life.
Essential tools in Chinese tea ceremony culture are a teapot, tea pitcher, a tea strainer, teaspoon (of course), even a brewing tray and cups. It’s about creating the right mood, with the right set of practical and visibly pleasing tools.
Take heed in the stunning tea equipment departments at Whittards, John Lewis & Partners and the likes - because darling crockery, the perfect tea infuser, and a mug that makes you happy are vitally important.
The last vital takeaway from a Chinese tea ceremony is to create an inviting ambience and mood for your tea drinking session. The best way to incorporate this into perhaps a frantic morning routine with children involved, an intense meeting at work, or any other regular day in Western civilisation, is simply to try your best to savour your first sip of tea, through to the last.
You’re probably in need of a cup of tea now, so it’s the perfect time to put our tea techniques to the test. Whether it’s Earl Grey, English Breakfast, or one of the exotic varieties above that takes your fancy - take on our recommendations and inspire yourself with the wonderful world of aromas, tastes and even health benefits that come with drinking tea.