I have to confess, tea is my favorite beverage. I am very particular about it, maybe even snobbish, but when you grow up with good tea it’s easy to be spoiled by the high quality Indian tea. Specifically, the water has to be perfect and I’m lucky that my plain tap water is great tasting (but I still filter it). If you’re serious about tea, you know not to buy tea packets. The general tea packet (Lipton and other such brands) are really just tea dust and to me, they taste like the paper they’re wrapped in. Yuck.
When I was in San Francisco visiting friends a few years ago, we went to China town and ducked into a tea shop. I’ve never been to a shop that offered tastes of tea. It was like a tea bar! I loved it; we spend about 2 hours there and I bought some teas. I really liked being able to try them before I bought them.
I don’t even like any “additives” in the tea like sugar or lemon. Never milk. Why spoil things? Milk is milk and tea is tea. The two do not belong together on my taste buds.
I have always had green tea on hand, but never liked it much. The reason for that is because when it gets cold, it’s quite bitter to me. Adding sugar just makes it nasty. Cold tea (of any kind) and sugar. Shudder. But it can be almost sweet (naturally) when at the right temperature.
I like the “gunpowder” style of green tea. I think it’s called “gunpowder” is because it resembles the pellets of the explosive.
When the tea is brewing, the leaves unfurl and you can see some of then in the second image in detail. The third image shows how it looks in the tea pot. Yes, I actually do have a strainer, but I wanted to show how the leaves unfurl and I know how to pour/drink tea to avoid the leaves, so I don’t mind the lack of strainer.
The last image shows a traditional Uzbek cup called пиала or пиалушка (piala or pialushka). The shape allows the tea to be cooled easily and convenient to hold in your hands. I prefer these cups, but a regular “Western” teacup, one with a handle, is also great. It’s what’s in the cup that matters.