Monday, April 28, 2008

The White, Green, Black and Herb of Tea



This week's Gracious Hospital-i-tea Blog-a-Thon assignment is:

The White, Green, Black, and Herb of Tea
"Tell about your favorite tea. How do you prepare it and serve it? Milk and sugar? Plain? What are some of your best memories of serving or sipping on this tea? Share a picture if you can. Tell the health benefits of the tea(s) you prefer. Where do you purchase your tea? Is there someplace you enjoying purchasing tea from? Who from and where?"
I drink loose leaf black tea, white teas and some Oolongs. I drink my tea plain, without milk or sugar. I rarely drink fruit flavored teas and do not drink floral flavored or floral scented teas or herbal infusions.

The tea I drink every morning (and several times a day) is Bruce Richardson's Elmwood Inn Fine Teas Mayor's Cup, a blend of single estate black teas from Ceylon, Darjeeling and Assam. Bruce was the mayor of Perryville, KY for several years therefore the name "Mayor's Cup." When visiting tearooms, I usually order White Tea by the pot with afternoon tea. The delicious white tea in the bottom photo is Tea Palace Snow Buds.

I purchase teas when visiting tearooms/teashops and I order tea online. Currently I have teas on my shelf from Elmwood Inn, Harney and Sons and Culinary Teas. I also have black tea blends I picked up at Twinings, Whittard of Chelsea and Harrod's last March and a White Silver Needles tea from a Knoxville tearoom. A tea I served to guests that received many compliments was Eastern Beauty, a Formosa Oolong from the Red Blossom Tea Company in San Francisco. I purchased it after participating in a tea tasting when we visited the shop. (top photo)

By the way, we keep Twinings decaf English Breakfast and Earl Grey (tea bags) for GJ and AJ who take milk in their tea.

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep


The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. There are a multitude of recipes in various Kentucky recipe books for mint juleps using bourbon from different Kentucky distilleries. It has long been debated as to whether you use shaved ice, crushed ice, distilled water, tap water, soak the mint in the bourbon or in a simple syrup for 15 minutes or overnight, whether it should be served in a chilled sterling silver julep cup and on and on. I think you get the picture. Apparently, it is a fine art to make a perfect mint julep. Personally, I believe you must acquire a taste for bourbon and the Mint Julep. I have not not acquired a taste for either! But, if you are at the Kentucky Derby, you "must" have one in your hand when the U of L band plays "my Old Kentucky Home."
Just give me a tall glass of "unsweet" iced tea and I will be happy. I prefer the use of the mint julep cup as shown in the bottom photo above. A silver (or silverplated) mint julep cup is quite often used to hold a bouquet of flowers and/or as a table centerpiece. I took this photo last August at a Danville, KY afternoon tea.
Kentucky Mint Julep Trivia:
Churchill downs buys 900 dozen branches of fresh mint and 60,000 pounds of ice, estimated to be enough for 150,000 mint juleps.
The owner of the Kentucky Derby winner receives a special-designed sterling silver julep cup.
 

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