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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cold Days of Winter

Hundred Year Tree

While I love seasons, and even snow, I do find that I feel I am a bit sensitive to the cold weather outside. This is one of the reasons I love tea, as I feel the warm kettle contributes much appreciated warmth to the room, all while bringing about a great deal more enjoyment than just warm air flowing through the registers.

It also brings up what teas are best for cold winter days? Short answer seems to be anything that is prepared with boiling or just off boiling water.

Hundred Year Tree Guinomi

But I feel it has a decent bit to do with the flavors presented also. I do not know if it is because I got my start drinking coffee in the middle of winter when I wanted something to help warm me up in the morning, but I find roasted teas are great for the cold days of Winter, not to mention teas with a very strong and bold flavor common to most black teas. This also applies to some extent to aged teas, notably aged puerh and aged oolong.

Today I did a bit of experimenting as I wanted to see if bold flavors and boiling water were key for teas I love during winter. Sadly there seems to be another component, which I guess I will describe as "Greenness." To really test this I took a 2010 sheng, which I brewed with boiling water, and it certainly has a very strong and bold taste, but in the end I was not really surprised, while the tea was physically warm, the effect it had on my body was a bit cooling.

Somehow gyokuro though seems to walk the line, while it is aged, it is also very green. I think gyokuro might be a bit of an exception as it has the strong presence of the umami flavor which makes it rather comforting, fulfilling, and to a certain degree quite soup like.
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