tea appreciation workshop

After the dose of our favorite alcoholic beverage from one of my previous posts, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf hosted their own brand of beverage appreciation with the taste test of sorts of their various teas, in an effort to educate the public on a beverage that is gaining in popularity here in the Philippines.

Hosted by witty tea connoisseur and renowned Master Tea Blender David DeCandia, the event proved to be a lesson in the finer points of tea, as well as a crash course in the worlds second most popular brew.

After a quick introduction to Tea Appreciation 101 and a few questions thrown out, the practical exam or taste test began.

We started of with a Japanese blend with a toasty flavor and aroma, the Genmaicha Green. This tea is a mixture of the delicate taste of Sencha tea and partially toasted rice, which explains the flavor and smell.

After a quick sip of water to wash away the flavors of the previous tea, we were given our next sample — Fancy Formosa Dragon Oolong, a delicate tasting tea with a subtle hint of peach and the aroma of flowers.

Our third cup was the light bodied black tea, Apricot Ceylon, from Sri Lanka. As the name suggests, the blend was fruity, with the flavor of apricot.

As an added tread, David gave us a sample of his ‘new blend’, African Sunrise, which was specially concocted and first sampled today. The tea was naturally sweet and seemed to have a “creamy” taste to it. A great beverage if you’re looking for something saccharine, without feeling the guilt. The blend will be available in the market by June.

And to top the workshop off, we sampled the Chai tea, a blend of the finest black tea and 16 spices, including cinnamon, clove and cardamom. As you would expect, this blend was full bodied and had the taste of various spices.

To end the tea appreciation, we were served a few treats — Turkey and Melted Cheddar and the Chipotle Roast Chicken Sandwiches, as well as a few cookies and CBTL’s Rocky Road Fudge Bar.

My day was made…I got to sample a slew of tea variants, got to munch on some tasty treats, and I even learned a few new things. And to give a little back, I decided to share some of the little nuggets of info I picked up…

Some fun facts on tea:

  1. All teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant
  2. Tea has about 50% less caffeine than coffee which makes it great for those sensitive to caffeine.
  3. Caffeine is released in the first minute the tea in infused with water.
  4. Environmental and climatic conditions of a region (including soil and water) determine the unique taste of tea
  5. Green tea is claimed to help:
    • prevent cancer
    • lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels
    • lower blood pressure
    • regulate blood sugar levels
    • raise metabloism and burn fat
  6. India is the world’s largets tea producer
  7. Tea is generally categorized into three types — black, green and oolong [but recently, other variants such as white, yellow and red have been added]
  8. Water quality will affect the taste of tea

Read more on The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and David DeCandia

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