Date: 7 Feb 2021
Venue: Five Mad Men (5MM), Salt Lake – Sec V
Throughout my growing up years, I understood tea as a hot beverage made with branded dried tea leaves, milk, water, sugar and one or more of taste enhancers like – cardamom, ginger, clove and even an occasional pinch of saffron.
The quality of prepared tea totally depended upon the ratio of the aforementioned ingredients, boiling duration of the tea and foam created on it’s surface while serving.
By the time I was an adult, there came this whole new culture of using sugar substitutes in tea or consuming tea without sugar.
As and how I started making friends from other communities, I got exposed to their culture of liquor tea and lemon tea. Tea without milk was a shocker to me, but I adapted to that in considerable time.
Since last decade, being a food blogger I have received enough assortments of green tea and other detox teas with all possible infusions and healthy concoctions.
Gradually the good old cup of daily ritual beverage that also acted as a mandatory welcome beverage in most of the households and offices and further acted as a great bonding element in all kinds of groups, got it’s new identity of a body detox and weight loss agent!
‘Brewing of tea’ was the new ‘Boiling of tea’ !!
In the last 3-4 years, I came across few tea connoisseurs and they introduced me to white tea, oolong tea, first flush tea and some exclusive teas from foreign soil. I realized that there was a plethora of information that was waiting to be unfolded and I started itching for a professional tea tasting session.
Lo and behold! On 7 Feb 2021, I was invited to attend Mad Tea Party, an evening of tea appreciation and tastings of special teas and tea based cocktails well paired with savoury and sweet bites at 5MM.
The evening was well curated and conducted by tea artist – Susmita and 5MM’s the then mixologist – Rana Roy.
The event was divided into two parts –
– detailed presentation on assorted information about tea followed by an interesting tea based Q&A session by Susmita
– tasting of special teas by Susmita well paired with either a savoury or a dessert from 5MM’s kitchen and tea based cocktails by Rana Roy
In short, I learnt that tea’s classification depends upon –
– the hills of it’s origin
– whether it’s first flush or a later harvest
– whether it’s orthodox or CTC i.e. how it has been processed
– varying degrees of oxidation of tea leaves
I also came across some astounding facts –
– There are around 3,000 different types of tea!
– White, green, oolong and black tea are made from the leaves of the same species, they just vary in the level of oxidation!
– Based on per person capita, Turkey is the largest consumer of tea.
– Tieguanyin is a type of oolong tea that may cost you as much as $1,500 per pound!
– China, Kenya, and Sri Lanka export most tea used worldwide today. But per capita, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Turkey take the top slots among the countries that drink tea the most.
– Tea reading is popularly known as Tasseography. The term ‘Tasseography’ is derived from the word ‘Tasse’ which is a French word that means cup.
– Herbal tea is not real tea. Normally this type of tea blends does not contain the actual tea leaves.
The tea tasting session comprised of the
following tea & food combinations –
– White Tea with cheese and Cream Cracker biscuit
– Green Tea with cream on Monaco biscuit
– Oolong Tea with Bruschetta
– Rum Tea with Chocolate Pastry
– Blue Tea Mash i.e. blue tea plus vodka
– Kadak Tea which was brewed with milk and jagermeister
It was enthralling to uncover tea from a totally new perspective. Tasting assorted teas and tea based cocktails with well paired bites was a dream come true.