Sunday, 20 February 2011

over to the leaf-side

Even though I enjoy drinking green tea and Oolong fascinates me the more I learn about it, I've noticed that most tea bloggers have already cornered the market over in the semi-oxidised and not-at-all-oxidised categories of tea. Not that no-one writes about black tea, but to me it seems that in our world of the tea obsessed, darker tea sometimes gets short-changed.

This is something I like to focus on. What tea might entice a coffee drinker? If someone only knows teabags or herbal tea, what could I say to lure them over to the leaf-side? Those questions are normally answered with malty Assams or light Ceylons. Maybe even an Indonesian or Kenyan black tea for those accustomed to sipping the liquor of the Arabica bean.

But there's a tea that I've found myself more and more drawn to the longer I research and write about tea. I've written at length on this blog about being drawn to Darjeeling tea. I did a search through my old blogposts on the subject, and I really have written the most about these teas. Bordering on obsessive I've been.

In the early days I tried these teas from multiple estates, and my taste hadn't developed enough to appreciate tea that I tried from the first flush. Slowly, as I tried more and more tea, I developed an appreciation even for these teas. I'm excited to try the newest crop of them this year as they come out.

The tea that's rushed back at the earliest possible moment is sold as Flugtee, and Germans pay a hefty price for the opportunity. I try to remember what it's like for someone new to tea, who is introduced to all of these exotic names and tea specific terminology. It's overwhelming.

So, you've heard about Darjeeling being nice in the afternoon, and the selection you read about online only baffles you. Do you just buy the simplest generic Darjeeling teabags you happen upon in the supermarket?

In my experience, that's not going to persuade anyone to drink different tea. Most teabags that're called Darjeeling might as well just say 'black tea' on them. There's hardly any relation between this and the real loose-leaf tea that I'm talking about.

What's your experience with this? Have you attempted to sway anyone to drink loose-leaf tea with anything other than the best quality? Has your taste changed, so that you're surprised at the tea you used to think was so tasty?


  1. I also notice that there is a lack of interest in black teas among many of the tea bloggers who are most deeply immersed in southeast Asian tea cultures. There seems to be a rather sharp divide between the western (and middle-eastern and even Indian) tea cultures, which focus on black teas, and the Southeast Asian ones which focus on green and oolong teas. But if you look, you can find a lot of bloggers who write about black teas.

    One of my favorite blogs to read is Marlena's Tea for Today, and Marlena frequently writes about black teas.

    I really appreciate that you write about black teas though. I like all types of tea, and I even enjoy reading about teas that I don't like. So keep it up. =)

  2. Aaaaaah, gotcha. So, basically stuff that's outta my budget. Noted.