Life beyond the teabag – March 2015

Diane Eddy

Tea seems like such a plain beverage — a paper bag filled with tea “dust” dunked in hot water that produces a dark reddish brown or green liquid. Maybe you add a little milk or sugar or lemon to that colored hot water. Sometimes your tea tastes of fruit, berries or herbs but no matter the flavor, your favorite tea always tastes the same. How is that uniformity of taste achieved from those little brown, wrinkled up leaves or that paper teabag filled with tea particles? One of tea’s most intriguing, centuries-old stories is how and why teas came to be flavored and blended.

Would it ever occur to anyone that tea used to be mixed with Prussian blue, a paint additive? Or that garlic, salt and fish oil might be favorite additives? In today’s world of highly standardized tea blending it is easy to forget that not so very long ago tea was mixed with many wildly imaginative and often-times dangerous ingredients. Behind every cup of seemingly plain and unimposing tea lies a tale of romance, war, elaborate ceremonies, poetry and religions, international trade, poisonings and heart-stopping clipper ship races, smugglers, delightful afternoon tea, health fads, and even entire civilizations.

Come join us on March 17 as we explore why tea is so often blended and how blenders achieve the most popular tea flavors. We will imitate the master tea blenders by learning how to mix our own signature teas—a pleasing tea flavor uniquely your own. Whether you are a tea enthusiast or a tea novice, learning the secrets and distinctions of blending and flavoring fine tea is both interesting and fun. What better way to spend a morning than sniffing and sipping teas steeped from some of the world’s most famous tea growing regions, then adding your choice of ingredients to make a unique flavor?

This tea blending class is one of the most beloved events in our tea tasting class series and we would be delighted to have you join us. Tea should always be a pleasant experience and if you can find a flavor or blend of tea that makes you smile, then indeed, you have found a personal treasure. The joy of tea begins with knowledge, and this tea-tasting event and personal blending will give you a more nuanced understanding of blended and flavored tea, aiding in your search for teas you can enjoy for a lifetime.

On March 17 Diane Eddy, Certified Tea Professional, will lead the tea tasting class in exploring flavored and blended teas. Class is from 10:00 a.m.-noon in the Sun Lakes Country Club Navajo Room. The cost is $4 and each student should bring a cup and saucer. Reservations are a must and can be made by calling Diane at 480-266-5562 or sending her an e-mail at [email protected]