05 December 2009

Before my little fingers freeze...

Oh my golly goodness, these shortening days are beautiful and exquisite, and put us in the mood for potful after potful of hot tea to warm our chilled typing fingers. I thought that before my hands solidify into ice-clad lumps I would write for a mo about some really terrific tea, so here goes:

Edwards Premium Tea Pinnacle Blend -- This is a practically heavenly blend of certified organic/Fair Trade-grown teas from tall mountain regions (Yunnan, China and the Himalayas in Nepal), and just the thing for a late afternoon in almost-Winter. Loves milk and milk-like additions, but is just as happy without it; sugar, too, can be added, or not, as you prefer. Malty, mellow, aromatic tea with medium body and just enough caffeine to let you know you can stay awake until after the supper dishes have been washed and left to dry in the drainer... in other words, until your movie is over and you are ready for sleep.

Pinnacle Blend is one of Trixie's own concoctions for Edwards Premium Tea, and the Opera people go wild for it. If you can't trust Opera people, whom can you trust?

and now... ANOTHER THING ALTOGETHER... People ask me -- yes, they really do ask me -- about this tannin-reducing rinse that I do when I make tea (Trixie does this when she makes tea for the groovy folks at the Opera, and she was kind enough to teach it to me; thanks, Trix)... so I thought you might like to read about it, too, and try it yourself:

Before you do a long infusion (i.e., the full 4-5 minutes, say, for a good black tea), pour some of your heated water over the tea leaves, enough to cover them, and let them sit for NO MORE THAN a minute; pour off that water -- keeping the leaves! -- then do your full infusion with the now-rinsed leaves. What is the purpose? You will remove some of the TANNINS from well-oxidised (black) teas, and an ever-so-modest amount of caffeine in the bargain. What a lot of people think is "tea flavor" is the tannins. Tannins are acidic and astringent, and they can make your mouth pucker and feel dried out if you swallow a surfeit; the rinsing keeps them in check and allows you to infuse with abandon and get FLAVOR without overdoing the tannins.

Flavor oils come out of the leaf at a slower rate than tannins, so rinsing for a minute won't greatly reduce the flavor you get from your tea leaves, but it will reduce the overabundance of tannins. Some of us are mighty sensitive, and if you are too, do try this "rinse" technique.

We used to believe that this "rinse" would drastically lower the CAFFEINE content of our infusions, but we have been corrected in this mis-belief. By the way, caffeine, tannins, etc are more "locked up" in the leaf the less processed the leaf is, so your green and white teas actually hold more caffeine and tannins for a longer time, over multiple infusions, than your fully-oxidised black teas. Confused? Ponder for a while, keep infusing and experimenting, and it will one day come clear. I promise.

Tell us what you think of all this, please.
En route to the warmest place in the office...
Lots of tea-stained love, Dustin
P.S. REMEMBER TO USE CODE *FRIEND10* for a nifty discount at TheTeaDrinker.com!!!