Tea: Tap in the mood, process, variety
Who doesn’t like a perfect cup of tea? But that experience can depend on a whole lot of factors – how it is made, who you sip it with and even the temperature of the water used, says tea sommelier Anamika Singh.
An addiction for many, tea as a beverage is a must-have for households the world over. While many like their tea with an infusion of milk and sugar, a number of individuals like it in its pure form be it black, green, white, oolong, pu’erh, herbal among others.
Singh held a tea appreciation session in partnership with Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts with a ï¿½Power – Up’ and ï¿½Power – Down’ approach here.
“When you drink tea, it depends on the environment, on who you are sitting down with and it depends on what you are sipping in — whichever sequence you go about. If who you are sipping with is not right, you will not feel good. If the way you make it is not right, then nothing is right,” said Singh.
There are a number of tea brands selling the beverage in boxes, but Singh says even if one invests in expensive tea but do not not know the right way of making it, the point is completely lost.
“It depends on how you infuse it, store it, the kind of water you use, the temperature of the water and the quantity of the tea used. Time plays a very crucial role when it comes to making tea and it is never a ‘guess work’. The amount of time it takes for a tea to get infused, the flavours and tastes, is all dependent on time,” said Singh.
Tea in India comes from a lot of regions and estates and the flavour of every tea is different, depending upon the soil, the water, the exposure to the sun. However, even those who claim themselves to be “tea lovers”, do not know their origins. This, as Singh believes, is wrong — especially when compared to how the good old wine’s history and geography is promoted even on its packaging.
She says the society has become such that people’s taste and attitude has become dependent and driven by price.
While the attendees sampled white tea – an exclusive, fancy tea which Singh said can cost upto Rs 20,000 a kg, she explained: “We live in a very funny society. Till the time you don’t tell people that the tea is white, they say ‘Oh my God, I don’t taste anything… It’s water”.
“And the moment you tell them that the tea is expensive and costs a bomb, it is when they say, ‘Oh, it’s very nice and I can get the subtlety, and then suddenly everything comes into perspective.”
Another fad fast catching up in the country is of the matcha tea. It is a Japanese tea, a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves.
Talking of that, Singh said: “If you see what matcha is, you cannot imagine the relevance this tea has. In India, unfortunately everything is a fad. We don’t know and understand the relevance of it, just like sushi. The weather, the soil all makes a difference… The Indian matcha cannot be the matcha that it originally is, and who really knows what matcha should originally taste like?
“Psychology plays such an important role.”
“When it comes on to Japanese tea, there is a certain bowl, certain whisk and foam that is to be created and a certain kind of silence that is there between the tea, you and the time… It is just so beautiful. But the fact is that because we are not exposed to it, we don’t know and we do not treat it with that kind of relevance.”