Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bohea from Oliver Pluff & Co.

This morning I had my first taste of smoked tea.  This particular tea, called "Bohea" by it's producer, Oliver Pluff & Company, is lightly smoked. My understanding is that some other smoked teas carry a much heavier taste of smoke. This is my first taste of smoked tea, in spite of all the tea I have drunk over the years, because the idea of drinking a smoky flavor just did not appeal to me.  But after sampling Oliver Pluff's Bohea, I have revised my thoughts on the topic.  I'm not sure that this type of tea will ever be my favorite, but I am certainly enjoying this one.

According to Oliver Pluff's website, this type of tea was imported in large quantities during colonial times and was, in fact, so popular that the term "bohea" became a commonly used slang term for tea.

According to the book The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide (2007), smoked tea was developed by accident in the Wuyi Shan region of China in 1646.  In advance of an invading army, local villagers in that area hid their tea by burying it in the mountains. Before burying the tea they needed to dry it to prevent it from rotting. So they dried the tea over pinewood cut from the surrounding area, where it adopted the smoky flavor. Later, the "ruined" tea was offered to Dutch traders who sampled it and loved it. Thus the practice of drinking a smoked tea was born.  

This book is an excellent resource with a useful index. So, I recommend searching it out to learn more about the history around smoked teas.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rosewater Iced Tea

Today I had the pleasure of tasting Rosewater Iced Tea for the first time.  My daughter and I discovered it at the Mediterranean Deli on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  When I saw it, I knew it was something special.  I tried it, and ended up drinking more glasses of it than I care to admit.  It was delicious: a traditional Southern (sweetened) iced tea - with a hint of something more.

After that fortuitous find, and a filling lunch, I did a little online research where I learned that rosewater tea is also sometimes referred to as Lebanese tea or Persian tea.  Online you can find many recipes for brewing rosewater tea.

See a wonderful article on this particular iced tea from this particular deli in the online journal, Southern Things which is "a student edited and authored online journal of writing on Southern material culture published at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill." As this article succinctly states, The Mediterranean Deli's rosewater tea simultaneously offers customers "the comfort of the familiar and the thrill of the exotic."

I think that sums it up nicely.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Visit to Table Rock Tea Company in Pickens, South Carolina

This week I visited the Table Rock Tea Company with my friend, Jessica Tripp.  We were led on a tour by the charming company co-founder and co-owner, Jennifer Lorch.

We ended our tour of the green house and grounds by sharing stories over a pot of tea.  It was a lovely morning.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ajiri Tea from Kenya

This morning I am drinking a mango flavored black tea from Kenya.  It is produced by Ajiri tea.  I was delighted to find the tea and its charming packaging in one of our local Whole Foods Markets.

The black mango blend that I am enjoying is medium bodied and smooth.  The mango flavoring is balanced and not too highly perfumed.  So I am glad to have discovered this delightful addition to my tea cabinet.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

3 Mountains Tea

I recently learned about 3 Mountains teas from a friend here in Asheville - and was pleased to later discover that the company and its associated organization, Africa Healing Exchange, are based here in Asheville.

This morning I am drinking the Rwandan Black Orthodox tea which is made available to the U.S. market through 3 Mountains.  As I have written earlier, I enjoy strong black teas.  This tea is full-bodied but well-rounded and smooth to the finish.  Highly recommended!

If you are in Asheville you will find this tea on the menu at Dobra tea.  If you are not in Asheville, you can purchase this tea and other Rwandan products through the 3 Mountains website.  Happy drinking!
© my tea diary
Maira Gall