THE WINTER wind slips through your buttoned-up coat, and freezing cold weather makes you want something hot to warm up your frozen body. How about a hot steamy cup of tea at a tea salon? The various flavors of tea will take you to the warmness of springtime. The Yonsei Annals will show you the world of black tea, and how to enjoy a cozy little tea party with your lovely companions!
The diverse world of black tea
Black tea comes from the transition of green tea leaves. All tea leaves are green when harvested, but after the oxidation and drying process, they turn black. There are two ways to classify black tea. One is by infusing the tea, and the other is by blending it.
There are two types of infused black tea: straight tea and variation tea. Straight tea is a type of tea that only contains tea leaves. The name of tea is decided by the origin of the black tea. We recommend straight tea for those who enjoy black tea with its unique water color and fragrance. The world’s top three kinds of black tea are Darjeeling of India, Uva of Sri Lanka, and Keemun of China.
The best straight teas to taste
Darjeeling - Harvested in India and differs in harvesting seasons.
1st flush: Harvested from March to April. Fresh taste like green tea.
2nd flush: Harvested from May to June. Muscat fragrance.
Autumnal: Harvested from July to October, after monsoon season. Deep, dark taste.
Uva - Harvested in Sri Lanka’s highlands. Bright orange water color. Rose-like fragrance, adored by many tea lovers.
Keemun - harvested in Keemun, China. Called “Burgundy of Chinese Tea,” with outstanding taste that could be compared to burgundy. Bright orange water color. Orchid-like fragrance.
When infusing the tea, you can pour milk or add herbs, fruits and ta-da! You have a variation tea. Famous variation teas include milk tea, lemon tea and vanilla tea. People who are not familiar with the deep, bitter taste of straight tea can start out with a relatively milder variation tea.
Milk tea - Traditional English black tea has a lot of milk in it. The milk neutralizes the astringency of the black tea, so keep in mind to infuse strong black tea when you make milk tea. Pour about 10cc of milk to make a perfect milk tea.
Lemon tea - Quickly infuse the tea and put a fresh slice of lemon into the black tea. Don’t just leave the lemon in the tea. Take it out after one swirl with a tea spoon.
Through blending the tea, you can have two different types: blended tea and flavored tea. Blended tea is created by tea blenders who blend the tea. Although the taste of the tea differs due to sunshine and rainfall, it is the tea blender who buys tea during an auction and blends it accordingly, so that we are able to enjoy the consistent taste of tea.
Blended tea is the combination of more than one type of tea leaves. Most teas are blended in order to match a consistent taste, or to create new tastes. Tea leaves are blended in a tasty balance, and a new type of blended tea is born!
Flavored tea is made by adding flavors into the tea. You can find all tastes that you can possibly imagine in flavored tea, from coconut, passion fruit and raspberry to chocolate, vanilla and even rum!
Blended and favored teas in lovely tea salons
1. Tea House Orbe
Rum Cutty Sark - Rum-flavored black tea. Little drippings of rum will warm your body.
Valentine Chocolate - Black tea that contains the sweet fragrance of chocolate. Have a tea with your lovely ones and enjoy your own valentine.
Earl Grey - A mixture of keemun and bergamot flavor, dark orange color and named after the count Earl Grey the 2nd who learned to make black tea in China.
Orange Pekoe - Orange Pekoe doesn’t have the taste of orange. Orange Pekoe refers to the 2nd small black tea leaf, which is orange in color.
Enjoying the tea
There aren’t any fixed rules in enjoying the tea. “Tea is everyday life’s margin” says Park Woong-sun, manager of Tea House Orbe. However, to enjoy the tea truly, he points out the three factors: color, fragrance and taste. Focus your senses on these three factors while enjoying the tea.
You should observe the color of tea water before drinking. If you infuse the tea for the first time, the color of the tea will be bright and yellowish. It gets darker as you infuse the tea multiple times. Try admiring the beautiful colors.
After you appreciate the tea visually, you should appreciate the fragrance. Some tea will smell like flowers or fruits. Some tea will smell sweet like chocolate. Breathe in deeply, while taking in the warm air from the cup.
Finally, bring the tea cup to your lips and take a sip. Let the tea roll on your tongue, and appreciate its unique taste. The tasteful tea will warm your heart and soul. Sweet, fresh and deep tastes will make you happy.
Tea might be your untapped territory, either because you didn’t know much about it or because of its unfamiliar fragrance. Now that you know the aspects and characteristics of the tea, it is time for you to have your own tea party with special ones. Remember, the best ingredient in the most delicious tea experience is the loving atmosphere!