Most tea aficionados are familiar with the common types of blends available – black, oolong, jasmine, pekoe and green tea. But I'm always surprised at how many haven't discovered one of my favorite blends. I love nothing more than an iced chai when I grave a cold drink, and a hot chai is just the thing to perk me up midafternoon.
Tea has a shelf life, something I have sadly encountered more than once. It's disappointing when my first come of morning tea is weak with a stale flavor, but I usually have no one but myself to blame. Proper storage is vital to keep tea tasting fresh, but even when you store it correctly it will eventually go off its flavor.
The pinnacle in presentation, the Japanese tea ceremony is impossible to pull off authentically without years of training. The traditional ceremony has deep roots and originated over 700 years ago. The founder of the ceremony as it is practiced today, Sen No Rikkyu, perfected the art of tea 500 years ago. The tea served at the ceremony is matcha, a powdered Japanese green tea that has a bitter, earthy flavor.
Although I enjoy a fragrant cup of black tea, green tea is the true way to my heart. The earthy flavor and aroma is both delicate and robust. Like black tea, green tea comes in almost endless varieties. Some green teas earn the flavor from the time they are harvest or how they are prepared, while others have additional ingredients that complement the brewed tea leaves. Below is a basic guide to some of my favorite Japanese green teas. If you can't find them in a regular grocery, they are all readily available online. If you can't wait, visit an Asian grocery. These markets usually have a huge selection of both green and black teas, some quite exotic and flavorful