- Linda Henderson
- Tammy Yenalavitch
- Heather Rae
As I mentioned in my last post, when I first moved to Toronto, I met some of my best friends by joining a tea-drinking club. The group also taught me a lot. From visiting various shops and tea lounges around the city to attending seminars and events to tasting all manner of teas, I’ve become something of a tea fanatic. Between my shelves at home and my drawers at work, I have forty to fifty varieties at my disposal. But what is it about tea that I love so much?
Well, here’s a very quick lesson: all tea comes from one type of plant, the camellia sinensis. Depending on how oxidized the leaves are, you get white tea, green tea, oolong tea, or black tea; if the tea is fermented in a certain way, you get pu-erh tea (while red infusions like rooibos or herbals like lavender or peppermint are actually tisanes, not teas). Each tastes different, and within each type is a rainbow of flavour differences depending on where it was grown and when it was picked. And then you get the fun of combining tea with other flavours: fruits, flowers, spices, you name it. From vanilla chai to orchid oolong, from single-estate ceylon to ever-so-precious (and expensive!) silver needle white tea, citrus to smoky to delicate to dense, I have every flavour I could possibly want at my disposal.
What’s nice about tea is that you can enjoy it alone, curled up with a perfect pot of bancha and a great book, or with friends, at afternoon (or “high”) tea if you want to be fancy, or in someone’s kitchen, with great conversation to accompany it. Tea comforts you when you’re sad, helps you celebrate when you’re happy. It’s perfect for serious news, reunions with family and friends, coming in from the cold, or trying to cool off (iced tea in the summer, of course!).
Since this is a valentine to tea, my constant companion, here are a few of the tea-related things I love most:
Meng Song pu-erh from Jalam Teas
Ti Kwan Yin oolong from Tea Emporium
Afternoon Tea at the Windsor Arms
The Tea Duck infuser
Tea art by Jeff Fuchs
Tea jewelry by CrafTea Designs
So that’s my great love: all things tea. Do you love tea too? What’s your favourite? What else are you celebrating as your valentine this year?