Inspired By: Alice in Wonderland

Posted by Courtney |


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is one of my favorite books and whether I'm reading it, watching the classic Disney take on it, or waiting to see Johnny Depp play the Mad Hatter, it always leaves me with a taste for tea.

What a lot of you may not know about me is that I am a tea snob. I'm also a bit of a coffee snob as well, but we'll save that for another time. Tea is an amazing drink, it is full of cancer-preventing antioxidants, it has detoxifying qualities, it can help in the fight against obesity and costs, next to water, less to drink than anything else on Earth. Tea is also perhaps the most misunderstood beverage in the world. Here are a few extremely common tea misconceptions:

1. Tea is a drink made from steeping the leaves of a tea plant. Therefore, chamomile is not tea. Peppermint is not tea. Rooibos is not tea. Tea comes from the tea plant or Camellia Sinensis . What “herbal teas” really are, are dried herbs steeped in hot water, which is known as an infusion or tisane.

2. Orange Pekoe is not a flavour of tea. Ever notice when you buy some, it never tastes like oranges? Why? Because it’s a cut of the leaf or a grade of tea (which is based on the size of the leaf). It generally refers to your basic, every day, medium quality black tea. This tea can be just plain black tea or it can be flavoured in many different ways, with or without orange.

3. Earl Grey is also not a type of tea. What it refers to is the fact that the tea leaves have been infused with oil of bergamot. It can be green tea or black tea, high quality or low, so long as it has the citrusy fragrance and flavor of bergamot.

4. Tea bags generally contain the swept up dust leftover from the high quality loose leaf tea the tea companies sell at a higher price. They most likely include a high concentration of what-have-you fallen off the boots of tea workers. YUM!

5. Even the highest quality teas are not expensive. At $250 per pound for white tea, you have to take into consideration the fact that it takes a lot of white tea to make up a pound. When you break it down to cost per cup, tea is cheaper than coffee, bottled water and soda. The only thing cheaper than tea is tap water.

There are 4 different kinds of tea:

1. Black tea: this is usually grown in India and parts of China and includes Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon and others. This tea is called black because the longer oxidization process actually turns the leaves black.

2. Green Tea: It is the same leaf, from the same plant as black tea, just oxidized for less time so the leaves remain green. These include Gamaicha, Gunpowder, Sencha, Hyson and more. They are slightly more nutritious to drink than black teas, and contain a naturally lower level of caffeine and slightly higher in tannins, which can cause a bitterness. This is why high quality green teas are steeped cooler than boiling, so it releases less tannins.

3. White Tea - legend has it, white tea was reserved for only Chinese royalty back in the day, and was picked at dawn by virgins in white gloves. White tea is minimally oxidized, and remains a silvery white color. It is an extraordinary delicate taste and is probably the absolute best beverage you could put in your system It has the highest concentration of antioxidants and detoxification qualities. For those of you with a delicate pallet, this could challenge it. It's a beautiful, delicate, cure-all that is an absolute joy to both brew and drink.

4. Oolong - Oolong is kind of halfway between black tea and green tea. It is mostly grown in Taiwan and parts of China at high elevations. It has a nutty flavor and a golden brew, and is my favorite tea, especially with a little bit of jasmine flavor infused into it.

So there you have it. Tea inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

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