EXPLORING THE WORLD OF CHINESE TEA

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EXPLORING THE WORLD OF CHINESE TEA: A VIRTUAL TASTING ADVENTURE WITH DELIVERED SAMPLES 
By Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”

 

 

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Travel writer Linda Kissam, “Food Wine & Shopping Diva,” talks about her recent virtual Chinese tea-tasting experience with Friday Afternoon Tea. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

 

Step into a world of aromatic tranquility and delightful flavors as you explore the art of tea tasting from the comfort of your own home. In today’s digital age, the virtual tea-tasting experience offers a unique opportunity to indulge in the time-honored ritual of tea appreciation while connecting via Zoom with fellow enthusiasts from across the globe.

Think of this Chinese tea-tasting experience as a virtual step into a sensory journey, uncovering the nuances and complexities of different Chinese tea varieties, all within the immersive setting of a virtual tea-tasting class. With the added convenience of delivered samples, participants embark on an intellectual taste journey uncovering the nuances and complexities of different Chinese tea varieties, all within the immersive setting of a virtual tea tasting class.

I signed up for my class online at the Friday Afternoon Tea website. There were about six virtual classes to choose from. Classes are seasonally appropriate and cost about $35.00. The tea samples were curated by the owner specifically to showcase the five regions the class focused on. 3-5 servings of 8 teas & flavors with tasting notes provided.  Once I was registered,  I was asked for my address. Pro Tip: Sign up early.  I registered about 6 days before the class. My samples arrived an hour after the class took place. This was an issue with USPS, not the tea people.

The class began on time and lasted about 90 minutes. It was easy to follow. Guided tastings and lots of information were provided making a lovely relaxing afternoon of Taste Across China: a Tea Tour. Although as I said I could not taste alongside my taste mates, I did take notes and tried the tea later that evening.   It’s quite a treat to “taste the place” of the five regions the class focused on. This class is appropriate for all levels of tea lovers.

About the tasting: Growing regions of China with perfectly coordinated teas are as follows:

Yunnan Region ~ Known for bold, malty teas. One of the oldest tea-producing regions in the world. Taste the region with Old Tea Head Shou Puer, which presents a coffee color and a full-bodied earthy flavor. My #1 favorite of the tasting. Pair it with dark chocolate to complement its deep flavors, or with creamy desserts such as flan or crème Brulée to balance its earthiness.

Anhui Region ~ Known as the “Burgundy wine of the tea world,” the Keemun Superior tea is dry and thick with noticeable tannins and a chocolate finish. Consider pairing this tea with fruits like berries, plums, or figs, as their natural sweetness can balance the tea’s robust flavor.

Fujian Region ~ A high altitude region known for its delicate smooth teas. This pairing featured Golden Monkey Tea. With beautiful golden tips, this black tea showcases a complex, but delicate smooth taste. The sweet and malty notes of Golden Monkey Tea complement baked goods such as scones, shortbread, or biscotti. The tea’s natural sweetness enhances the flavors of these treats.

Fuding City ~ The birthplace of white tea, Fuding City is a microclimate within the Fujian Province. Shoumei tea is a type of white tea known for its delicate and slightly sweet flavor profile. I really liked this tea sample’s perfection. My #3 favorite. The gentle character of Shoumei tea makes it an excellent match for light, fresh salads. Consider pairing it with salads that incorporate mixed greens, light vinaigrettes, and possibly some mild cheeses for added texture.

Hunan ~ Famous for the high mineral content in its soil. Pinhead Gunpowder can be enjoyed with mint and sugar. Pair the smoky notes of the tea with smoked gouda, aged cheddar, or smoked mozzarella to create a delightful flavor combination.

Zhejiang ~ Famous for its production of Dragonwell and Phoenix Jasmine Pearl-style green teas. The Lung Ching tea has an interesting interconnection of butter to floral taste. Dragonwell tea, also known as Longjing tea, is a type of green tea known for its fresh, slightly sweet, and nutty flavor profile. The nutty and slightly sweet flavor of Dragonwell tea can be enhanced by pairing it with stir-fried vegetables like Bok choy, snap peas, or broccoli. The tea’s fresh profile can harmonize with the vibrant, crisp flavors of the vegetables.

More tea,,,Region Wide ~ The yellow and white Chrysanthemum grows throughout China. Tea aficionados love the Chrysanthemum tea for its taste and medicinal taste notes and applications. White leans slightly vegetal and dry while the yellow is more honey-like and sweet. The Osmanthus flower sample (My #2 favorite) takes a tannic vacation delivering a sensuous, perfumed nose and sweet taste. A great dessert tea. Serve Chrysanthemum tea with citrus-infused treats like lemon bars, orange sponge cake, or grapefruit sorbet. The tea’s gentle sweetness can balance the tangy, citrus flavors of these desserts.

About the owner: Friday Afternoon is a small family-owned, geeky-themed tea company. Expect to find loose-leaf tea, custom blends, tea wares and accessories, and virtual and in-person educational tastings.

“Owner Friday Elliott’s unique take on blending stems from a neurological oddity known as Lexical-Gustatory Synesthesia. Due to this condition, Friday experiences language (both spoken and written) and abstract concepts as distinct flavor profiles. In short, she literally tastes words and ideas. This “superpower” allows Friday to create blends with a completely unique approach. With a background in herbal remedies as well as culinary arts and education, she shares her Tea Wizardry with people all over the world.”

Whether you’re new to the world of tea or a seasoned enthusiast, this innovative virtual tasting approach is sure to expand your tea horizons. You can do this via links on the Friday Afternoon Tea website.  An in-person tasting experience can be had at Friday Afternoon Tea located at The Wallingford Cafe & Retail Store in Seattle, WA.

Finally, take a pro tip from owner Friday Elliot, “When you walk into a tea shop. Ask the pouring staff, “What are we excited about tasting today???”

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit www.AllInGoodTaste.info.

For more about the Friday Afternoon Tea classes, visit https://www.fridaytea.com/

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About the Author:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping
’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits.

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