I've been drinking tea all my life. My mom served me tea with lemon in winter
after I played in the snow. She added orange juice when I caught a cold. As I
grew older, my dad might add a shot of whisky for a sore throat! My tea
drinking days followed me through life as green tea and anti-oxidant information
became more available. However, as I visited tea rooms over the years and began
writing my Daisy's Tea
Garden cozy mystery series, I researched and tasted many more types of tea.
Using tea bags for hot tea and brewing iced tea had been convenient. But
exploring loose teas opened up another whole world of tea drinking. Loose teas
are easy to brew and can provide a variety of flavors that are unique. For me
tea is no longer about dipping a teabag into water heated in a microwave. It's a
calming process that involves aroma as well as taste, sharing and
experimentation with mixing and combining to develop my own favorite taste sets.
I have to admit I was mostly a tea bag connoisseur before the past few years. I
would use tea pots to keep water warm for guests. (By the way, if you put water
in the microwave for tea, the tea supposedly doesn't taste as flavorful as when
you heat it on the stove. Try it yourself to see.)
Are you a tea drinker? What kind of tea do you like to drink—hot tea or iced?
Do you use tea bags or loose tea? Do you prefer herbal, decaffeinated, green,
black, white, rooibos, tisane or infused? These are just a few questions to
explore about your tea drinking preferences.
When I began to explore my tea preferences and loose teas, I found my tea kettle
to heat filtered water, bought a tea ball for brewing a cup and a pot filter for
steeping up to 6 cups and pulled my mother's china teapots from my hutch. From
my research, the first nuance about tea that I learned was that a tea drinker
should heat the water and then pour it over the loose tea into the china tea
pot. How long I steep the tea depends on the type I'm using.
To step out of my comfort zone and taste new flavors of tea, I explored Silver
Needle White Tea first because I like mild tea. Next I explored Green Tea and
then Black. But I realized early on that I enjoyed fruit flavored teas the most
and, for health reasons, decaffeinated serves me best...though I do indulge in
caffeinated now and then. When I visited tea rooms, I sampled teas from
Chocolate Raspberry, Peach, and Wild Orange Blossom to Raspberry Pineapple and
Limeade Twist. I also discovered a local herb farm where I found Cinnamon
Rooibus, Lemon Souffle and Green Honeybush Nut Crunch.
I'm going to go into a bit of detail about white tea because it's not as well
known as some of its counterparts and it's my favorite. I'm a fan of "white"
tea because it has a lighter flavor than black or green tea. White tea is not
rolled or oxidized. When brewed, it is pale yellow. The term "white" tea comes
from silver-white hairs on the still-closed tea buds. It's collected mainly from
China, India, Southern Sri Lanka and Northern Thailand.
According to IHerb.com, "White tea comes from the same plant as green and black
teas, Camellia sinensis. However, white tea is made from the closed leaf buds,
rather than open, and is normally less processed than other teas. Studies have
indicated that white tea can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, and research is
ongoing regarding the large variety of possible medicinal uses for this tea."
Just a note... If a tea is "naturally caffeinated" with no additives, then your
caffeine dose is lighter. Prices vary on white tea, both loose tea and tea bags,
from reasonable to beyond expensive. That's why it's best to sample tea before
buying it. Processing, or lack of it, is what gives each type of tea—black,
green, oolong and white—distinctive flavor.
I brew loose white tea leaves and also use the tea bags. My favorites are
Adagio's White Symphony and Snowbud. Another favorite that has a beautiful scent
is White Imperial from Vahdam, 100% pure Indian tea. I brew my white teas about
three minutes. But your brewing time might be different.
When I decided to write my Daisy Swanson Tea
Garden mystery series, I had so much fun exploring tea rooms with
friends, speaking with tea room managers, and tasting new flavors of tea. I
created the fictional town of Willow Creek and located it in beautiful Lancaster
County, Pennsylvania, with its Amish buggies, manicured gardens, fertile farms,
hex signs on barns, delicious baked goods and home-grown food, handcrafted
quilts and cottage industries. This area embodied all the feelings that I want
my readers to have when enjoying DAISY'S TEA GARDEN'S teas and goodies—a strong
sense of home, belonging, friendship and warmth. Setting the series in a small
town in Lancaster County was taking a step back in time to when values, home and
hearth mattered. Tea is an expression of this lifestyle, an escape from the
pressures of the ordinary world.
No matter what type of tea you prefer, the ritual of brewing and serving tea
from a tea pot can be a calming experience for you and whomever you share your
brewed tea with. Try it and see if you like it!
USA Today Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith's 100th novel is a 2018
release. She writes both cozy mysteries, romance novels and women's fiction. One
of her romances was aired as a TV movie on the UP tv network. Her passion is
caring for her five rescued cats. Her hobbies are gardening, cooking, watercolor
painting and photography. An only child, Karen delved into books at an early
age. Even though she escaped into story worlds, she had many cousins around her
on weekends. Families are a strong theme in all of her novels. She's recently
working on her Caprice De Luca Home Staging mystery series as well as her Daisy
Tea Garden mystery series. If you'd like to chat with her, you can find her on
Facebook at KarenRoseSmithBooks and on Twitter @karenrosesmith.
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