Life Beyond the Tea Bag

Diane Eddy

It’s tea time in Sun Lakes once again! Get out your teacups and come join us November 15 on this fun-filled adventure as we explore China’s most famous green teas.

According to an ancient Chinese legend, while drilling a water well, the people of the Tian Mu Mountains (Heaven and Eyes Mountains) discovered a rock in the shape of a dragon. Immediately captivated, the people named the well Long Jing, the Dragon’s Well. As the centuries rolled by, a temple was built on the site and people began pilgrimages to the place that became known as Hangzhou – West Lake.

The monks of the temple cultivated tea plants and served their delicious tea to the sojourners. The first tea plantations in West Lake can be traced back 1,500 years to the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618-907AD). Over the years, West Lake’s tea became the most famous and well-known of China’s green teas. Long Jing now has the distinction of being one of the world’s most popular green teas and is recognized for its healthful properties as well as delightful, toasted flavor.

Joining Long Jing as one of China’s most famous teas is the tightly rolled Gunpowder green tea. Also dating from the Tang Dynasty, Gunpowder green tea was given in tribute to the Chinese Emperors—earning it a place on the short list of China’s Tribute Teas. A top grade tea, Gunpowder is so called because of its pellet shape made from very young tender leaves, which yield a mouth-filling, sweetly herbal taste.

Also among China’s ten most famous teas is the green tea from Liuan County in Anhui called Lu An Gua Pian, literally translated as “Liuan Melon Slice.” The pleasant floral sweetness of this tea gradually fills your mouth with its very refreshing and smooth flavor. And rounding out the tea tasting menu for our first class we will look at the tightly curled leaves and white tips of the velvety, melon-flavored Chinese White Monkey, Bai Hao Zhum, from Fujian Province.

At this first-of-the-season tea tasting class we will explore the history and origins of these famous Chinese green teas. So much is in the news today regarding green teas—come and find out what all the whoopla is about. You will discover that creating great-tasting green tea is quite easy. There are only a few steps—looking at the dry leaves, steeping the tea correctly, examining the wet leaf, smelling the aroma of the infused tea, and finally, tasting some of the most exquisite green teas in the world.

Students, please bring a teacup and saucer along with your sense of humor and adventure. Bring your friends and come join us November 15 from 10:00 a.m.-noon in the Sun Lakes Country Club’s Navajo Room. The cost of the class is $5 per person and reservations are necessary.

Please call Diane at 480-219-6211 or email her at [email protected] for more information and to make your reservation.