Tea Writings

A blog about tea from the desk of Cecilia Tan

Weather Or Not

May 26, 2009 By: ctan Category: Tea Musings, Tea Reviews

It’s lovely and sunny today, and June is nearly here, but it’s actually quite chilly in my house. The temperature outside has only reached 53 on this sunny afternoon, and in here it’s about the same as it is all winter–66 degrees.

I spend a lot on tea when compared to your average person, though probably not compared to your average tea snob, perhaps $200 a year? (And that’s not counting all the tea I get as gifts.) But tea costs very little when compared to the price of heating the house.

Two winters ago I reduced the temperature on my thermostats from 68 to 66 and decided to drink more hot tea instead. The result was not only my steady tea routine, but a drop in our gas bill that winter of $800. (And the price of gas had gone up, so the usage might have dropped more than indicated by price alone!) Given that I have to run a gas stove to heat the water, that was a very pleasing sum to see. (And also one of the reasons I feel absolutely no guilt about buying as much tea as I like.)

I’m keeping warm on this not-yet-summer day with a sturdy roasted bancha from Holy Mountain. The have it labeled Houjicha (roasted bancha tea). “This tea drink is a bancha that is lightly roasted, which gives it a nutty flavor. Not at all a connoisseur tea, but a fun everyday drink that goes well with Japanese foods,” reads the web site. “Its liquor is a tawny brownish color with a smoky taste.”

I just picked this one up to see if I like it better than the various Sow Mee White Tea cans and batches I’ve ordered from various places, and since used up. As it turns out, I like it about the same. Sow Mee would be slightly sweeter in the cup, but the effect is similar as far as a roasted flavor is concerned.

Actually, I will have to brew this again later, in a porcelain or glass pot, to be sure of what it tastes like. This batch I made in a yixing clay pot, which always imparts a little of the flavor of the clay to the tea. The clay has a slightly chocolate-y taste, on that same axis with the roasted teas and the oxidized oolongs.

In fact, it’s time for me to brew another pot now. It’s still chilly and I’m drinking it fairly quickly to keep warm!